Man in the Box / I Alone. (Open, feel free to RP)

They arrived near 7th and 6th Street and pulled into the parking garage. The church was just a few bulging over all the buildings in the area were old and made of brick. everything seems to be from the 1890s to the 1900s. On this side, there did not seem to be a lot of people. The sun was setting and the shadows of the building were casting their shadows over the city. This part of the city was not so clean with paper and other trash tossed around the area or blowing in the breeze.

As the teams arrive. There are some people walking mostly lower-income and homeless milling about on the Street. A few dogs and cats with birds flying around. The area is not being well taken care of except by the church.

By what Alyssa had shown of the area the church had owned most of the land in the area and the alley led to an old building that once belonged to the church and now a warehouse. Sung stepped out of the SUV and looked around. Sung walked to the back of the SUV and opened it pulled out his equipment, a vest, his sword in a bag and a shoulder sling for two knives.

“Get your gear ready, we will meet up with the others soon,” said Sung to the other dragons.

Choi nodded to Sung. Getting out of the SUV, he put the sword bag over his shoulder. The sword, his hands, and feet were Choi’s weapons of choice. His parkour skills gave him an advantage. Yeong looked to Eun-Ji. Up until now, all he saw from her was the illusions. However, illusions could confuse, couldn’t kill an enemy.

Alyssa’s van pulled in right behind Sung’s vehicle. She climbed out and started unlocking the back to let out Max, and so weapons could be grabbed. Herself grabbing the rifle Peter had loaned her.

Agent Powers then had his gear loaded on himself and put the snacks from his other backpack into his tactical pack. Then he stepped out of the van looking like an action character from a movie as his bulging muscles held his golden holy shotgun. Once he was out of the van it bounced a bit as if it lost a heavy load. Agent Powers looked around to see who was around them then gave a smolder to Alyssa and Peter as he said, "Let’s roll.”

Sartre had his Heckler and Koch MP5 slung over his shoulder. He kept his hand close by his Glock nineteen which was holstered on his side.

"Does anyone think that pastor Duane is down there in the catacombs? “Which way, Alyssa?”. He looked over to the pale hacker. He was surprised that the sun was shining outside.

“Over there,” Alyssa responded, pointing to the entrance down the alleyway. “I think it’s very likely the Pastor might be down there.” She figured anything was just guessing at this point

Agent Powers then asked, “Okay so do we capture the Pastor unharmed, somewhat harmed or kill him on sight? I need to know these things since most of my missions in the past were kill on sight.” Agent Powers then gave Alyssa and Peter a smolder.

Seeing that Eun-Ji exited the SUV, Choi was inquisitive enough to ask her a question. “What weapon do you have? I realize your illusions are defensive, but what can they do to an eldritch?”

“Why would we kill someone who is innocent?” asked Sartre.

Agent Powers rolled his eyes up as he replied, “Sorry man but this is my first team mission and I have been left out of the loop on mission details. Just to make it clear I need specific instructions on a mission. Normally I just kill my targets and destroy their base in the process. It’s rare for me to do a search and rescue mission.” Agent Powers sighed as he thought they knew about his past.

Sung shook his head surprised by the conversation. “We don’t need to kill anyone we don’t have to. I know we are part of secret societies the term is secret let us try to keep it that way. Our societies would just as soon as kill us than let their secret out.” warned Sung.

Sung gave a stern look to the others “So hide what you have on you or cover it at least. We are visitors and that is all. That’s what we want people to think,” said Sung buttoning his jacket.

“I am ready to go when you guys are. If you think it is better we can leave in groups until we get to the back of the buildng.” suggested Sung.

Alyssa shook her head, at Max, “Your past is a little of an enigma. I told Peter what I found out, clearly that wasn’t everything.”

The computer hacker had her pistol well concealed, in an ankle holster but the other weapon was a a rifle. She had on jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie, and no way to hide it. “Anyone got any ideas how I can conceal this,” indicating the rifle. Well she might have one idea but it would be a pain.

Before Eun-Ji had a chance to respond an SUV pulled up to meet them. It was her confidant, David. She excused herself and went over to catch him up to speed, retrieve the items she asked him to bring and give him clear instructions about keeping guard till they returned.

She removed her hanfu outfit to reveal her form fitting tactical attire beneath. It looked like a hybrid between antiquity and modern design; giving her the appearance of a tactically armored ninja built for both mobility and protection to vital places. Her twin hammers could now be seen strapped to each upper thigh.

The extra items she retrieved were placed into a backpack for now and she carried it back over to the group. On returning, she pointed to the hammers on her hips to answer Choi’s previous question. Her illusions could do harm, but she wasn’t about to admit anything about that until it was necessary.

As she waited for them to begin, she took a garment out of the backpack and began putting it on. It was a traditional style South Korean outfit that was designed to cover her combat attire.

As Alyssa was trying to figure out what to do with the rifle, she added. “The entrance is in that building, in the basement.” Pointing out the building. “From what I can piece together I believe the entrance is likely bricked off.” Of course, her bee ability didn’t just put stuff back together. It worked the other way, something which might come in handy.

Agent Powers thought about what Sung told them and scratched his head a bit. It did make sense not to run around in public with weapons hanging out. So he scratched his head and thought for a moment before he had an idea and went back into the van so he was out of sight and imagined himself wearing a brown leather trench coat. Suddenly his slime body moved into the shape in his mind and now it looked like he was wearing a trench coat. Oddly enough the clothes he was wearing as Agent Powers were made of slime so he could alter them as needed. He then made a gun strap under his coat to attach to the shotgun so he could hide it under his trenchcoat. Then he came out of the van with a grin on his face as he said, “Hey Alyssa I can hold that for ya if you need me to.” Then he gave her a smolder.

Choi grinned, bringing his hands together before him and bowing to Eun-Ji. She was proving to be well prepared to use the resources she had. In some ways she was beginning to prove to be a valuable partner. He knew she didn’t trust him. Hopefully, that would come.

He turned to Master Sung. “Let’s go!”

“Is the entrance to the catacombs inside or outside the church? Is there another entrance?” asked Sartre.

“I’m ready. lead the way.” Sartre said.
When everyone was ready Alyssa, because she knew the way, led the group to the building. Standard old brick church, done in a Spanish style, not uncommon for California but old, very old. “I don’t know what shape the building is in but it is very old, so, just watch your step.” Alyssa then pointed to a hallway on the right. "The stairs leading down should be that way.”

Agent Powers nodded and gave Alyssa a smolder as he followed her lead. He kept in mind the update to their mission since he had to rescue the pastor and maybe some others if needed. So he stayed alert and kept his wits about him as he put on his led headlight headband.

Sartre slowly made his way down the stairs, his pistol at the ready.

Choi stayed loose and limber, ready for any altercation. He tried to reach out for the pastor’s energy. However, he didn’t interact enough to have a good feel for the energy. He wished he wouldn’t have been so hasty upon meeting the pastor, but the young girl that was in the office needed help.

Alyssa cautiously navigated the stairs, as luck would have it they were in decent enough shape. They arrived at what was supposed to be the entrance but, as predicted, it was walled off, bricks blocking the way. Alyssa moved to the side, "I believe a few of us could take care of this, who would like the honors?”

Agent Powers rubbed his chin a bit as he looked at the wall. Then he tapped on it to gauge how thick it was as he nodded at it. He then popped his neck and turned to give Eun-Ji a smolder. Then he said, “As I recall we got a lecture on being to loud and destructive last time. Now I can easily bust through this wall but it would loud and destructive which are things I am very good at. Since you (pointing at Eun-Ji) are better than everyone around you why don’t you show us how to break this wall in a stealthy manner or do yuou need to call for some support?” Agent Powers was being petty and childish since he was only 18 years old inside the huge muscular body everyone else saw. Then as he looked at Eun-Ji he made his pec muscles move up and down so each side moved the opposite direction.

The wall didn’t make sense to Choi. Hearing Powers, Yeong said, “Something isn’t right. This is the path they would have taken to escape. So, either this wall was just built, which means the mortar would not have had enough time to completely dry, or it’s a fake wall and there is a lever or pressure point somewhere near.”

Choi began to feel around the walls, as he did not see any levers. For once, Choi had stopped and evaluated the situation before forcing himself impulsively ahead.

“What should we do?” asked Sartre.

Eun-Ji had to tap into a mountain of patience in regards to Max Powers pettiness in the middle of a dangerous venture. She glanced at her fellow Dragons with an incredulous micro expression and whispered in Korean. “우리는 바보를 상대하고 있습니다. 조심하지 않으면 그 사람이 우리를 죽일 거예요.”

(OOC: translation = “We are dealing with an idiot. Be careful or he is going to get us killed.”)

She was pleased that Choi had taken the opportunity to pause, think and check before going full steam ahead. This was encouraging progress and he was indeed on to something. While the wall wasn’t a fake door, it was clear on closer inspection that the mortar was newer looking than the other surrounding walls; too clean.

Not to back down from a challenge, especially when it was underhand pitched so easily, Eun-Ji moved to the front of the group where Choi and Max were located. She removed a spike from her backpack, which contained various climbing gear. She then started tapping with her knuckles over various points on the stone wall and listened to the sounds it made. Simultaneously, her chaotic intuition converged on a point of weakness. She took the nail and placed it against the mortar joint. She then retrieved the hammer from her right thigh and made a precise strike.

As the hammer moved through the air to the nail, the space around it warped causing the hammer to take on an animated appearance of stretch and squish as it moved swiftly towards it mark. The weapon accelerated miraculously as if time altered around it and sped up. Upon contact the nail was driven up to its head into the mortar. There was a single hammer hitting metal sound, that waxed and waned as if the Doppler effect was acting funny.

From the epicenter of contact there was a subtle ripple effect in a two foot radius as if the wall was displaced and behaved like a fluid to the eye. Everything settled and Eun-Ji returned the hammer to her thigh holster, ignored Max, and made her way back to her middle spot where Alyssa was positioned.

Ten seconds passed and nothing happened. Then there was a slight gritty shifting sound. A series of cracks could be seen from where the nail was driven into the wall and they spread randomly throughout the structure. The pieces started to crumble and give way in a slow, natural looking progression. When it was all said and done, the noise was indeed minimal and there was a hole just big enough for everyone to climb through one at a time, except Max. The break was not big enough for him. Eun-Ji had a pleased look on her face at the results; she had an inkling her probability of getting the hole to be small enough to exclude Max might manifest itself.

Alyssa let Enu-Ji, do her thing without comment. It was without a doubt a interesting way to go about it, and petty. As petty as what Max had said.

With a sigh, and a roll of her eyes, Alyssa only said, “Pardon me,” and walked to the wall that now contained the hole big enough for everyone except Max.

She touched the wall where the opening was, and it quietly crumbled down, leaving a much bigger opening, one certainly big enough for everyone, including Max, to fit through. Yeah, she probably could have done this before but figured to let Enu-Ji have it, only stepping in because the pettiness was ridiculous and holding them up.

Alyssa returned to her spot, without saying another word.

Agent Powers quietly watched as Eun-Ji made her small hole in the wall. It was impressive and she was indeed skilled. If also gave him a clue to her skills in the process she was not to be trusted. He then raised an eyebrow to Eun-Ji as she was all smug about her little hole in the wall. It looked like she did it on purpose to exclude him from entering and before he could say anything Alyssa fix the hole problem much quieter and easier. He then gave Eun-Ji a smolder before covering his mouth a shocked surprised look as he whispered in a girly voice, “Oh looks like some’s better than you.” Then he gave a big grin as he moved toward the hole and looked into it with his led head lamp light. If anything came out he planned on being a shield to protect Alyssa. Then he asked Alyssa, “Want me to go in first?”

Choi grinned as Eun-Ji did her thing, but winced when he saw the size of the hole. He was glad Alyssa could compensate, but took offense at Powers comments. The way Yeong had observed, they all had their specialties and abilities, and not one was better than the other.

“Powers,” he firmly said, “you may proceed, but do not make negative comments about my partner if you want to keep your smolder. She has been very effective. Let’s work together as our agencies have asked us to do.”

Eun-Ji appreciated Choi’s rebuke of Max’s immature and mistimed behavior. She had been wondering what faction his loyalty belonged to after seeing how quickly he collaborated with them earlier in this investigation.

She felt Power’s comment was unnecessary. He asked to put a passable hole in the wall without making much sound and she had delivered. It wasn’t her fault that he was supersized. Though it was sweet Justice; Chaos wasn’t an exact science, but it never seemed to disappoint her. It was irritating though that the Illuminati had wasted time asking her to do it when they already had someone present that could handle the situation with ease.

Now that it was time to enter into the unknown, several more versions of Eun-Ji fabricated into view around her; each identical to the original.

She did play around with sending one of them to make Max Powers break his own neck, but dismissed it for now. They might need him to tank.

Agent Powers grinned at the dragons before entering the dark hole. The led light on his head illuminated the walls and he saw a passage as well. He told the others what he saw and described any concerns he had. He continued to move forward before he let the others know that they could enter. He was on guard as he hand Alyssa her rifle and whipped out his shotgun.

Choi was cautious, but not overly. He didn’t sense anything yet. He remained focused before them, attempting to feel any presence that may be a threat to the team.

He walked through the hole that the two females on the team had made. He stood in the glow of the light generated from Powers’ forehead, closing his eyes, reaching forth with his senses. It recalled times that Master Park made Yeong fight blindfolded.

Sartre climbed through the entrance carrying his MP5 rifle behind him, he looked to see how the others were doing. “It’s very dark in here.” said Sartre.

Alyssa finally spoke up, “It would nice to have the pettiness not be a thing from both sides, during this mission.” Alyssa was to the point of aggravation, she didn’t even want to be in the tunnels but adding the back and forth between Max and Enu-Ji it was getting on her last nerve. “Let’s get out of here alive then you can both get back to annoying each other.” Alyssa also wasn’t convinced that Enu-Ji didn’t deliberately make the hole too small for Max. An advanced degree in physics meant she should have known what would happen. Alyssa then turned to Choi, “Look, the two of us have worked together just fine so far. I’d like that to continue, but don’t threaten one of my teammates. Especially, over words. Can we all agree to just tolerate each other long enough to finish this and not get killed in the process?” Alyssa was almost wishing that she was zapped out of here again without all the …damn …stuff that she had forgotten about, again.

Choi grinned at Alyssa. All along he had the feeling the teams would need to work together on this one. He couldn’t explain it, but as soon as he met Sartre and knew that he was also being watched by someone else, namely Alyssa, whom he hadn’t met yet, it seemed he got a gut feeling.

“Anyone ever tell you that your cute when you’re angry,” he said with a smirk. She reminded Yeong of a chihuahua nipping at someone’s heels. “Yes! I’ve known for a while Gaia would pull us together on this one. I’ve been open to that from the beginning.”

Eun-Ji stayed securely tucked away in the center of their processional train, near Alyssa. There was a total of four each interacting and moving with their own unique responses to the environment. With the darkness and distance traveled, it was now impossible to know for certain which one was the real one.

“Shhhh” Came a stern reprimand from one of them; which one was unclear. Eun-Ji was disgusted by the unnecessary chit chat and lack of professionalism. They were not on some pleasure stroll, they were in a perilous situation and at a disadvantage due to the unknown variables, lack of visibility and terrain. She did not want their ability to hear threats, or changes, in the darkness to be compromised by noise.

Alyssa bit back a half-smile, and rolled her eyes at Yeong, but didn’t get a chance to respond before hearing a “shhhh.” Probably from one of the Enu-Jis because if anyone said that it would be her. Alyssa just let it go. Damn, she missed the solitude of her van.

Agent Powers ignored the others behind him as he moved forward at a slow but reasonable pace. He kept a look out for traps, vermin and possible dangers both natural and man made. Every now and then he would encounter a rat and he just gave it a small kick. It would sent flying and before it died from the impact of a wall. Since he had experience with this before he only kicked it hard enough to break its bones without making it explode open. He was not to fond of the smell of dead rats in the tunnels since he knew they would be there a while. He didn’t say anything since he was focused on pressing on. As they continued on the dark tunnel he looked for any clues left on the walls that could be useful.

Choi silently walked beside Powers. His senses hyper. He figured he’d sense something before Max saw something.

He sniffed the air. “Hey Powers,” Yeong whispered. “What did you have for lunch? Mexican? Do me a favor and ease up on the refried beans next time.”

Of course, he was only joking with Max. It’s what those working together did. Talk smack.

Agent Powers smirked as he kicked another rat deep into the tunnel. The small squeak was the last sound it made before hitting a wall and getting crushed. He then spoke in a low tone, “Your funny Choi. I am not sure where you smell beans though, Mr. Secret Asian Man (from the song). Seriously though all I can smell is dead animals and mold in this place. Though they are annoying its good that we do see the rats though. It means no traps nearby. If we find a bunch of dead rats in one place it’s a good sign for traps. Also keep an eye out for odd marks to walls that look odd. It’s possible to find hidden passageways inside a tunnel to throw us off. The Cartel and Voodoo masters like doing that stuff.” Agent Powers continued to light the way with his head lamp.

The sound of the rats being kicked made Alyssa jump slightly. She took a breath and calmly spoke, to Max. “Maybe, you could leave the rats alone. They might be the only actually innocent things down here, and all the noise can only attract attention.” Really, the rats would probably just run from the group, why kill them?

The computer hacker was trying to keep her eyes peeled but everyone around her was taller than her, so it made it a little difficult.

Sung had been in the back walking with the others. Watching them and studying the way they reacted to things. The only thing sung was not keen on what the rats. the darkness did not bother Sung was used to working in places like this. He did wish the others would not joke as much and Sun figured they were nervous.

Sung A multitude of bodies locked together in death, fitting perfectly like one enormous body. Skulls in arches and rows broke up the pattern. Some had holes in them, some cracked and others smooth. All had the dull patina of age and seemed to be cemented together as if they had sunk into each other after years of standing here, sentinels to death. The ancient dead don’t smell and the earth scent. Certainly not unpleasant, more like a cave.

The teams walked for about 15 minutes. The echo of them walking could be heard it was almost impossible to be quiet. The dust in the air was heavy enough to be seen. there were some red night lights now and then in the ceiling. This helped to make this place even creepier. there was a turn in the tunnel as they went through the turn. Yeong could see that the dust started to flow to the right and through some bones. After a closer inspection, the Bones are arranged a little differently. Max and Yeong can feel the air moving in that direction when all of this is realized. Something is hidden there.

Agent Powers raised his arm to halt the others from moving forward. He moved his light around the area to illuminate it while looking with his eyes for anything that look odd. Then he spoke softly as he said, “Looks like we found a trap. Who wants to disarm it?” He didn’t take his eyes off the scene since he didn’t have time for a smolder.

“The air is flowing that way,” Choi announced. “It is dustier that way too. Either the air flow is pulling the dust that direction, or it is the path less taken.”

Yeong knew that just as in the jungle, more use means a path is hewn. Even the smallest of rodents leave a path of a heavily trafficked area. The path here would be less dust, as it would tend to cling to the feet of the travelers.

“What kind of trap is it?” asked Sartre?

Sung made his way to the front where Choi was. Sung looked around. then pulled out a small Tactical light flashlight from his jacket. then started to look around carefully. He passed to the far side opposite the wall they were looking at. Then turned to look at the ground and ceiling. Sung touched the dirt near the wall they were examining. brushing some of it away.

After Sung moved some of the dirt there were scrape marks from something sliding. “Not a trap but a concealed door I think,” commented Sung showing what he found.

“I can probably unconceal it.” Alyssa commented, as she moved forward. This time not wasting time asking others to do what she could quietly and quickly do, and with no equipment.

The young woman double checked for any traps or things that might be triggered, finding nothing, she put her hands on the bone. Was quiet for a moment, the bones disintegrated, falling quietly down.

Agent Powers was ready to grab Alyssa and pull her to safety in case things went wrong. He was no longer in a joking mood since knew of the many dangers inside tunnels. He watched for anything that was a threat.

“If there is a ladder to climb down, I can go down first.” Sartre offered.

There were stairs leading down in the tunnel. there was no light and did not look as old as the other tunnels they had walked through. This tunnel was more narrow. Agent Power’s head would be near the ceiling and his shoulders near the side walls. so it would be one at a time to walk down the stairs.

Agent Powers looked down the hole and lit it up with his head light. Since it was narrow he described it to the others and replied, “I appreciate the offer Peter but my dad won’t be happy if you and Alyssa got hurt. Its best if I was the tank on this part.” Agent Powers didn’t give a smolder as he responded. He looked very serious at this point. It was almost like he was expecting to get his by an ambush or trap at any moment.

“I got your back,” Choi replied to Powers, drawing the sword Sung had given him from the bag. “It’s best to be prepared.”

He looked at the others, “Powers and I will check it out and let you know if it’s safe.”

Agent Powers nodded as he slowly went down the stairs and looked around with his head light. He was looking for any possible traps and damage to the tunnel that would be a concern. The climb down as a problem as Agent Powers was rather big for the tunnel so he altered his form a bit to fit a bit easier down the ladder. When he reached the bottom he reverted back to his original big muscular form and looked around before Choi came down. He was very thorough in looking the place over.

“What do you see down there?” asked Sartre.

Agent Powers kept on guard as he looked around with his head light. Then after hearing Peter speak he replied, "Looks like an old tomb, but I don’t see any bodies yet. If it is a tomb we need to be careful of dead bodies, rats and poison from the dead. Stay on guard.”

Sartre walked down and armed his MP5. He swept the area for enemies, moving slowly.

Alyssa descended the stairs and looked around. “Catacombs have skeletal remains but not usually dead bodies.” Actual tombs with bodies should be elsewhere, still it did look very tomb-like. She kept her rifle pointed down but was ready, if something came at them.

Cjhoo looked at skulls piled atop one another. Hundreds of empty eye sockets stared upon them. He poked the point of his sword inside a few of them.

“Just in case,” Yeong declared.

Agent Powers looked at Choi with a raised eyebrow then replied, “Be careful doing that. Some Cartels I hunted in the past hid bombs in the skeletons and dead bodies to deal with grave robbers. I got blown up a few times before I realized what happened. Trust me you don’t want to dig yourself out of a cave-in. It’s not fun even if you survive.” Agent Powers had a pained expression on his face as he spoke. It was like he was reliving a horrible past while in the tunnels.

“Just checking for spiders or snakes,” Choi admitted with a smirk. “You never know in these places.”

From the other side of the room, there is movement in the shadows as everyone gets down the stairs and into the room. It was safe at first glance and there was nothing to detect. from a passageway, something starts to walk out of the dark with red glowing eyes.

Skeletons infuse its bones with a dark vitality, adhering joint to joint and reassembling dismantled limbs. This energy motivates a skeleton to move and think. An animated skeleton retains no connection to its past, although resurrecting a skeleton restores its body and soul.

The skeletons were in tattered clothing and carrying rusty machetes. They walk towards the party, 10 of them spreading out trying to encircle everyone.

Agent Powers popped his neck as he pulled up his golden shotgun and got ready to aim for the heads of the skeletons. He was serious and had no mercy for his targets. He then said to the others, “We got 10 skeletons ahead! Aim for the head and chest!” Then Agent Powers took aim and shot at the skeleton in the middle.

“Looks like I poked the wrong eyes,” Choi suggested to the others.

He immediately hurled the sword straight for the eyes of the skeleton in front of him. Dashing toward it, he intended to jump and do a forward flip over the skeleton while retrieving the sword from the skull. He rarely missed.

Eun-Ji readied her twin hammers and her clones formed a defensive perimeter around her. Being in the middle of the group, she and Alyssa were already surrounded with the protective expertise of the others. If all went well, then hopefully the threat would be neutralized before they had to take action. Regardless of this possibility, she remained situationally aware and got ready to react when the time became necessary.

Sartre raised his rifle towards the ivory formations. He burst fired three volleys, the sound of the anima charged mp5 Releasing bullets resulted throughout the walls of the catacombs.

Sung watched as things unfolded. His first thought was just to let the others deal with the skeletons. The skeletons walked forward with the sound of clacking bones. He also knew the guns there had no sound suppressors and the noise would be deafening. Not that he likes guns anyway for that reason.

Sung knew what he had to do to help out. Sung drew his sword and made a circular motion and a word was spoken. Then a metal ringing noise. As the ringing faded there was no sound in the area. Sphere centered on the group. The room was void of sound, not even talking or even the guns were heard.

Alyssa had a choice, she could wait which was what Eun-Ji had done or try to somehow shoot, from the middle of the group, around people that were all taller than her. That second option seemed difficult at the moment. So, she followed Eun-ji in not attacking but staying abreast of the situation.

Posted by : Cindy

The charm spell had ensnared her prey entirely; he was firmly under her spell, tethered to her will. He wouldn’t be slipping away anytime soon. Her gaze drifted above him, scouring the room for her Templar hunter. Engaging in the cat-and-mouse game brought her a perverse pleasure, even if neither player fully comprehended their roles. Both danced on the edge of awareness, manipulating each other with subtle finesse. The triumph, when it inevitably came, would taste all the sweeter for its hard-won victory.


Corinth moved closer. He could see the Empusa looking around, her arms draped over her prey in the corner. He slowly slid in between dancers, trying to stick as deep into the shadows as best he could, but it was hard with the lights spinning around the room. As he moved around a dancing couple, he looked eyes with Ivy.

She smiled a wicked smile his way and then pulled her prey through a door she was blocking from view. Corinth began to hurriedly push through the crowd, but it was a struggle. The party goers were packed in tight and he was doing everything he could not to start throwing people out of his way.

“Move,” he yelled, squeezing in between people, but the music was too loud to make any difference.

Finally cutting his way through the crowd, he made it to the door and flung it open, gun pointed forward. The room he entered was another large open area, but this one was filled with shipping crates. Slowly moving forward, Corinth needed to be cautious. There were ambush spots in almost every direction and if he dropped his guard even a little bit, Ivy could get the jump on him.

That’s when he heard the piercing scream of a man towards the back of the room. It started out loud, but was instantly cut short. Running in the direction it came from, the Templar started hearing a familiar wet sound he had heard more often than he would care to remember. Picking up the pace, he charged forward faster.

Rounding one of the last shipping crates, lying on the ground was the body of the man Ivy was with before, his chest ripped open and the familiar organ removed. Corinth squeezed the grip on his gun tightly in anger as he looked around for the monster. The blood trail showed that she moved away and towards a red container in the far corner next to a door marked exit. He grit his teeth and followed it.

Before he could even get close, something wet splattered on the floor in front of him. Corinth looked down and easily recognized it as a clump a shed skin. The Empusa was shedding the last bits of Ivy and that meant a whole new set of troubles for him.

He looked up and he didn’t need to track her anymore. She stood a few feet away, stretching her arms and back. All her clothes had been removed and there was only a few bits of Ivy’s skin still adhered to the Empusa’s. Corinth watched as she peeled a piece off of her face and then reached down and peeled one off her leg. Both pieces dropped to the floor with total disregard that they once belonged to another person.

Raising his gun, he pointed it directly at the monster’s head. “That’s enough! I’m not letting you leave here.”

Her hands moved down her body as if feeling it for the first time. In this case, it was the first time in a long time. She smiled that same wicked smile again and replied, “as if you have a say in that matter.”

Her hands moved up to her head, fingers moving through her oily hair. As she pulled them away in almost a dramatic fashion, her hair was suddenly ablaze with fire. It was such a surprise and so bright, Corinth had to avert his eyes for a moment before focusing them back on her. “Shit,” he cursed to himself.

A slender ring of fire ignited, coursing down her form, consuming the dried blood and any lingering traces of Ivy. As it descended to her legs, it seared away the flesh from her right limb, leaving behind a copper-covered appendage in its wake.

“Shit, shit,” he cursed again, whether it was in his mind or out loud, he couldn’t be sure.

Before him, she stood, her hair ablaze like a fiery halo, the copper leg gleaming in the dimly lit space. Assuming a defiant stance, she dared him with her gaze, silently challenging him to make a move against her. Licking her lips in anticipation, she smiled again, like a predator sizing up her prey. But Corinth wasn’t prey. He was another predator challenging her for dominance. For territory. For rights to rule the kingdom. And he never lost.

“Are you going to use that gun or continue to-”

Corinth squeezed the trigger, sending two bullets her way and slamming into her chest, causing her to stumble backwards in shock. Her eyes were wide and full of anger as she regained her balance. Keeping Powell aimed at her, he took a small step forward.

“How are we doing this, Ivy. Easier or hard?”

“My name is not Ivy. My name is Callista and soon, you won’t ever forget it.”

She turned on her heels and bolted for the exit door. Corinth cursed again and charged after her. Bursting through the door and knocking it off its hinges, she ran out into the night, heading up the road and towards the city. Corinth poured out right behind her, but she had a good head start on him.

As he gave chase, he noticed she was jerking from side to side, almost like she was getting attacked by something invisible, but she never slowed. And then, the worst thing that could have happened, did. A pair of wings burst from her back and began flapping. Corinth’s eyes grew wide in alarm and he started to open fire, but couldn’t. The city was in front of them and he wouldn’t be able to tell where the bullets would go once they left the chamber if they didn’t hit.

Three flaps from her massive wings and she was airborne. Not letting up, Corinth pushed forward as hard as he could, but he wasn’t going to be able to catch her on foot. Putting his pointer and thumb between his lips, he whistled calling to his side an old friend.

Posted by : Dblitz13

The whistle’s shrill cry sliced through the air with the precision of an arrow. Corinth dashed forward in pursuit of Callista, but the distance between them stretched further with each stride. In his periphery, the familiar light blue hue of his steed intensified, drawing nearer with each passing moment.

Pyrois surged forward with a swiftness that defied mortal comprehension, his spectral form gliding effortlessly above the ground. As he ascended, each stride propelled him higher, until he raced across the asphalt with a velocity that matched his master’s urgency. From his mane, brilliant blue spectral flames cascaded, while smoke billowed forth from his mighty exhales. His coat, a glossy onyx hue, shimmered under the flickering streetlights, casting an ethereal glow with each passing stride.

Corinth jumped on the hood of the next parked car he passed, stepped up to its roof, and then leapt of it to the back of the passing steed. It neighed loudly like the engine of a car when the pedal was pressed to the floor. Lowering his body mass to be closer to the spectral horse, the reduced drag allowed Pyrois to increase its speed more.

A red aura flowed off of Corinth as his shotgun formed in his hand out of the ether. It was locked, loaded, and ready to go, he just needed a clear shot at her. Pyrois dodged cars driving down the street, causing them to swerve left or right. The spectral horse even went up and over one that didn’t move out of the way in time. Its hooves digging into the hood and roof of the car before landing back on the road, never slowing down.

Looking up into the sky, Callista was moving fast, but Corinth was doing his best to keep up. He needed to slow her down or he was going to lose her once she made into the city, disappearing between all the buildings. His only option was to shoot her down.

Motioning for Pyrois to move out of the street and onto the sidewalk, Corinth took aim with his shotgun. The motion of the horse and the tall trees that passed by were creating havoc with his aim. With the shotgun shooting slugs, he didn’t have the added benefit of scatter shot.

His eyes darted forward and he saw a break in the trees. Through that gap, he would be able to fire on her and hopefully slow her down. If he could damage a wing, then he would be able to catch up and maybe even put her back on the ground. Maybe was a long shot, but it was all he had.

The gap in the trees approached and he took aim, leaning back on the horse, keeping his back straight, he pulled the shotgun across his front and aimed. As Callista came across his sights, he squeezed the trigger, sending a slug shooting through the air. With trained muscle memory, he spun the the shotgun around, loaded it, and re-aimed and fired again. The second shot was more wild as he didn’t have enough time to properly sight in his target.

The winged woman dipped to the right and dropped altitude as one of the slugs slammed into her right shoulder. She screamed loudly and her hair blazed even more, but she was dropping. Corinth watched as she vanished on top of one of the taller buildings in the vicinity and steered Pyrois in that direction, cutting across a small park to close the distance.

It didn’t take long for the spectral steed to pull up to the front door of the office building and Corinth jumped off of it as soon as it came to a stop. Corinth didn’t know what the building was used for, but there were many lights still on inside, which hopefully meant that the front door was unlocked. And it was.

He pulled the doors open and rushed to the nearest elevator. Luckily, there was one already on his floor and he rushed into it as soon as the doors opened. Pushing the button for the top, he waited as the elevator began it’s slow climb.

The music, or muzak, that played was very outdated, but then again, was any muzak not outdated? He reached into his pocket and pulled out his pill bottle, twisting the cap off, he dumped two pills into his hand. He looked at them for a moment and spilled two more out to join the previous. Tossing all four into his mouth, he swallowed them down and put the rest of the pills away.

The elevator doors opened with a ding and he moved out fast, looking for the stairs to the roof. The floor he was on held the more fancier offices. The offices of the owner of the company and CEO’s. Fancy art, expensive wooden desks, the works. He wondered why he didn’t have an expensive wooden desk at work and made a mental note to ask Dalia about that.

Following the signs, he found the stairs that led upwards to the roof access. Charging up the stairs, he rammed into the door, flinging it open and letting it slam against the wall. Shotgun raised, he made his way out onto the roof, the flaming hair Empusa waiting on him with an angry, yet wicked smile.

Posted by : Dblitz13

Corinth leveled his shotgun and fired. The thunderous roar of the gun cascaded over the entire rooftop, the flash from the muzzle, a brief lightning strike. The Templar flipped the gun around, reloading it much the same way The Terminator did in the movies and aimed it back at his target.

The blast hit her in the chest causing the Empusa to stumble back a step. She growled in response and lunged forward, propelled with a newly gained speed from her wings. In a flash, she had closed the distance and was in striking range. When she took her swipe, Corinth wasn’t there. Only a faint red haze of where he once stood.

Haste was a hell of a power. It allowed him to move faster than humanly possible, but only in short bursts. Short bursts that came in handy when evading fast moving demons. Once he was out of range, he turned and fired again, sending another blast into her left shoulder, removing bits of flesh in the process.

“We can end this now without one of us dying. I can put you back in the bottle, but at least you’ll be alive,” he said as he flipped the gun again.

She turned back to face him and growled. “To live in an eternal prison? I’d rather die!”

She lunged again, moving faster. Corinth shot, but she managed to strike the gun away, deflecting the bullets away from her and knocking the gun from The Templar’s hands. She grabbed Corinth by the throat, lifted him up, and then slammed him down on the roof, forcing all the air out of his lungs in the process.

“You should feel privileged. Not many humans have lasted this long against me and when they couldn’t kill me, they locked me away. You will not live long enough to do either.” She lifted him up again and tossed him across the roof. “But first, I want your heart pumping. I want it engorged with your fear.”

Callista began running towards Corinth with a look of predatory hunger in her eyes. He had other plans for her rather than becoming her dinner. As she drew closer, and he tried to get his breathing under control, he opened up his right hand as the red aura outlined his body. A yellowish light filled his hand and then shot forward as a beam of energy as bright as the sun. The blast sent Callista tumbling away from him and screaming in pain. Rising to his feet, he pulled Powel and Loy from their holsters and aimed them at her.

The sound of an approaching helicopter drew his attention. It hovered above the building for a few seconds. Long enough for someone to jump out and land with a mighty slam on the roof. It was Magdalena holding her Soul Ejector with both hands. The helicopter flew away once she had landed successfully.

“Oi, reckon ya could do with a bit of 'elp, mate.”

“How’d you know where I was,” he questioned her, focusing back on the Empusa.

Magdalena smiled and took up her position beside Corinth. “We ‘eard there’s this phantom horse gallopin’ through the city, innit? Thought to meself, there’s only one bloke daft enough to pull a stunt like that. Then, I just followed the blinkin’ lights, didn’t I?”

“Fair.”

The Empusa rose to her feet, her hair blazing brightly in the night sky. All expression from her face was gone except for anger and savagery. All she wanted was to kill these two, everything else could wait. She wouldn’t be happy until all their insides where scattered across the city and their blood drained into the sewers. A fitting end to the ones that have caused her misery since she was released from her containment.

Magdalena charged ahead and swung her hammer. Still partially dazed from the sunbeam attack, Callista took the full force blow to her side and with a crack, went reeling away. Not wanting to give her time to recover, Magdalena jumped toward her, bringing her hammer down with both hands as if the demon was a nail. But the demon was gone. Vanished.

“Where’d she scarpered off to? Vanished into thin air, like a bloomin’ ghost!”

Callista sat off to the side, holding her injury and breathing heavy. She was invisible. Using the time to catch her breath and come up with a plan. She could simply leave, but that wasn’t an option for her. If she didn’t kill the Templars now, they would keep following her and making her life miserable. They had to die tonight.

The Empusa moved slowly around the two as she watched them looking around for her. The one with the hammer stayed her guard, but had no clue where her enemy was. The gunslinger kept looking around, aiming his guns in every direction. He also had no idea where she was. The Empusa smiled as she slowly stalked forward to Corinth. If she could take him out now, the one with the hammer would fall easily next.

Holding Loy out in front of him and Powell to his right, Corinth looked for signs of any movement. He knew the Empusa wouldn’t have given up so easily. Her pride was wounded about as much as she was.

“I don’t see her anywhere,” he called out to Magdalena. “I think she may have gotten the better of us,” he said as he holstered Powell. Then, he turned his head all the way to his left and looked at Callista face to face. His eyes were fully silver in color and he brought Loy around, pointing at Callista’s head. “Just kidding,” he joked, pulling the trigger at point blank range.

The shot forced Callista’s head back with a jolt that knocked her out of her invisibility. Corinth’s eyes returned to normal as he cancelled the See Invisibility spell. A spell he hardly ever used, but was invaluable when he needed it.

Callista recovered and shook the stars away from her vision. She let out a defiant scream at the Templars and her orange flames burned brighter. “Enough of these games! I will eviscerate you and swallow your souls as well as your hearts!” The Empusa dashed forward once again with renewed determination and strength.

Posted by : Dblitz13

It was suddenly quiet to the point of hearing your heartbeat. There was no sound; could not even hear the scraping of the skeletons.

Agent Powers fired his shotgun flame and smoke but no sound. what people could see was the recoil of the shotgun so in the people’s minds he shot it. Hitting center mass on the skeleton. it exploded into pieces flying back and hitting the floor. The pieces slid to a stop. Powers was able to get another shot off before they got there. It also exploited sending fragments all over Choi.

Choi with the expertise of a sword expert took a few steps and threw the sword it flew end over end. Jumping into the air flying over the skeleton as the sword cut the skeleton splitting its head and some of its chest bones. Choi caught the sword in the air as he landed. With a twist and swing cutting down another skeleton. then was sprayed by bone fragments from the last skeleton Powers shot.

Sartre raised his MP5 submachine gun towards the skeletons. He burst and fired three volleys, There was no sound of the anima-charged bullets there was no sound at all as the weapon fired. Some of the Burst fire hit the their marks chipping away at the bones of the skeletons as one fell two others lost parts of their bodies. The other bullets hit the back of the room with sparks and dust rising from the gunfire.

Sung drew his sword and made a circular motion and a word was spoken. Then a metal ringing noise. As the ringing faded there was no sound in the area. The sphere of silence centered on the group. The room was void of sound, not even talking or even guns were heard. moving the sword in another direction. Sung gracefully moved the blade, Sung turned the blade toward the ground.

Sung was gone from sight Briefly surrounded by a silvery mist that flowed through the group to the right side in the blink of an eye Sung stepped out of some silver mist that formed to the right side of the Skeletons with lighting speed he obliterated two of the Skeletons. Fragments flew from the powerful strikes from Sung.

The last three Skeletons turned to Sung they could sense he could be the most destructive and all attacked Sung at the same time. Sung looked like he was going to move right by them. He moved and two of the Skeletons missed with their blades. But the last Skeleton managed to get a hit on Sung’s left arm. Blood ran for the cut as Sung spun and moved away so as not to get surrounded.

Agent Powers saw that Sung had distracted the remaining skeletons as he took aim and fired at them again. He ignored the flying bone debris since it would just bounce off his muscular body as he took aim and was careful to not hit Sung with his shots as he pulled the trigger. He was glad the ammo seemed to work since he had encountered a few situations where he had been given the wrong ammo during past missions.

Choi’s chest, arms, and legs were riddled with sharp bone fragments. He had acted on impulse once again, and it caused him the pain of dozens of prickly bones stabbing him as if he were attacked by a giant porcupine.

With the adrenaline pulsing, Yeong did not feel the pain. He would have forced it out of his mind if he had. So, Yeong advanced and swung at a skeleton from behind, as its attention was upon Master Sung.

Eun-Ji’s ears were grateful for the silencing spell from Master Sung. Firing guns in a confined space, underground, was nothing like it was in the movies. Bullets that missed their mark ricocheted off the stone walls, and in some cases embedded themselves in the softer mortar or weakened surfaces. Bullets likewise reflected off the bones of the skeletons that fell victim, altering their straight trajectory at an angle to suffer the same fate as any missed shots. Eun-Ji was about to yell at them to stop using their firearms as she could have sworn a few bullets whizzed past them; however, there was no time to.

She remained safely tucked away in the center of the group with Alyssa. The four men where attracting the skeletons and dispatching of them rather easily. Eun-Ji couldn’t help but wince seeing Choi turned into a calcium pin cushion. Despite the chance to jump into the fray for the remaining skeletons, she continued to remain on the defensive.

The silencing spell allowed Sartre to take closer aim at the remaining skeletons. He focused specifically on one and looked through the front sides of the MP5. He decided to use his single shot “Red Mist.”, which would be a powerful blast to the skull of the undead creature. He was glad he did not have to hear the ricocheting of several bullets. The echo would be deafening.

Sung used the moment to back away from the skeletons. It was hard even to see Sung move. He was standing there in the blink of an eye 15’ past the skeletons behind them and on the left side of the group. Silver-gray mist swirled around his feet. His action getting himself out of the line of fire.

Alyssa still thought it unwise to try to fire around people, she wished her ability didn’t require her touching the skeletons as she had no intention of getting that close to the remains, at the moment. She, almost simultaneously, winced with Enu-Ji at the sight of the attack on Choi. The silence was welcomed, especially considering the ear assaults that would be happening right now. For now she just continued to remain as is, waiting and watching.
With the attacks of the others Agent Powers, Choi, and Sartre the last of the skeletons were destroyed. As the last skeleton fell from the gunfire so did the silence in the room. There were bones everywhere; this was a mess to behold.

It was a deathly quiet now eerie type of feeling. the smell of decayed bone, dust, and gunpowder filled the air. something was not far off something that instinctively made the group question themselves about what they were doing in the catacombs, more like a crypt now.

As the adrenaline wore off and his heart began to slow with Choi taking deep breathes, Yeong began to realize he was wounded. Looking down, he saw the splinters sticking from his body, as if he had been dragged over several cacti.

“Ouch!” Choi whimpered, plucking one from his chest. A small crimson dot showed from beneath his dobok. He looked up and said, “I may need a little help,” as he plucked another with a wince.

Alyssa went over to Choi. “Sung, I might need backup with this.” Knowing the older Dragon had healing powers. She said to Choi, “Unfortunately, this might sting a little. You might want to sit down, if you can find some place.”

Once Yeong was settled, she touched his arm gently, the splinters started to leave his body. She had to repeat this measure a few different places to make sure to get everything. Something noticeable happened, once the splinters hit the ground they disintegrated. Her mind had worked like this: fixing people was part of her power. She couldn’t fix everything though. Broken bones, cuts - sure. An internal organ not so much. But this was part of putting Yeong’s skin back together and in doing so it forced the splinters out. She had no idea the fragments would disintegrate like that. After about two minutes, and checking over Yeong twice, Alyssa finally said, "I think I got them all.”

With each gentle touch of Alyssa’s hand producing a healing from within his body Choi was amazed at what the petite one could do. Her abilities were proving to be quite useful, especially for Yeong’s rash actions.

Choi held out a hand and gently took her into his. His face displayed sincerity. “Thank you for helping a Dragon. As an Illuminati, you could have left me to my fate. I appreciate it.”

Choi stood back on his feet. “Now what?” he asked. “Should we look about, to see if they were guarding anything in particular?”

“Let’s check the ground and see if there are any tracks. Also; Look for anything that might have been dropped such as objects for rituals.” Sartre would continue. “Nice work on the skeletons everyone. Interesting healing action there, Alyssa.” said Sartre.

Agent Powers reloaded his shotgun while standing guard quietly as the others tended to their wounds. He kept his thoughts to himself for the time being. He scanned the area with his head lamp to see if anything remained from the skeletons or if any traps were triggered in the process. He then gave the team a smolder as he said, "I’ll take watch while you check stuff out.”

Alyssa gave Yeong a small smile at his words, “No problem.” The thought had never occurred to her to let the wounded Dragon continue to suffer. She was perhaps a little different than some or even most Illuminati because of that but it just wasn’t Alyssa to be that way. Bickering with words was a long way from wanting someone to suffer. Still, she either couldn’t or didn’t want to put all of that into words. “Working together, kind of means helping each other out, doesn’t it?” Her words were to Yeong, but were more directed at everyone.

“Thanks,” The hacker responded to Peter’s comment. Interesting? That could mean a lot of things, but Alyssa would just take it as a good thing. “I can help look.” She was looking to tracks but keeping an eye out for anything else they might need to know about.

“Agreed!” Choi said to Alyssa. He pulled on his dobok, revealing the small holes left by the splintered bones. “Now I have a aerated dobok.” He grinned at his own joke.

Looking about, Choi searched for symbols. Perhaps those of the cult had etched into the walls, much as the old Templars used to do. Too bad there weren’t any Templars with them. They’d probably spot things like that quickly.

Walking through the left archway there was another tunnel leading to the left. The tunnel leads off at a 45-degree angle. The tunnel is black and dry, with less dust and dirt there is an alcove a little further some clothing catches the party’s attention. With further inspection, it is filled with bones with more recent types of clothing mixed in with the bones and other personal items.

Between the two the entrance and the alcove a symbol. It would have been missed with everything going on. Sung pointed it out and looked in his notepad on his phone. It had several connections with the Warren, Carter, Florida, 1920 incident. The forensics Sung was working on was starting to come together. The upside-down pentagram with a flat circle in it. In the circle is a flam. Some runes on the inside of the five points.

With another pentagram on the ceiling of the entrance a little smaller and different markings.

“Does anyone have any idea what the symbols could mean? Have you seen them before Alyssa?.” Sartre carried his MP5 as dust fell from the ceilings of the catacombs. “Someone was definitely having occult ceremonies down here,” said Sartre.

Choi gazed upon the upside down pentagram. His lips tightened as he took on a more serious demeanor.

“This pentagram, being inverted,” Choi discussed, “suggests the idea of matter over spirit. I’ve seen it before. My mentor, Master Park, explained its meaning to me.”

He gazed to the one on the ceiling to try to discover the meaning of its difference.

Alyssa relayed the information about the Warren, Carter, Florida incident. Then started taking pics of the other symbols. “I’ll run the others through the database and see what comes up.”

She acknowledged what Yeong said and decided to keep that in mind and add it to whatever she discovered.

As the hacker was letting the database process everything, her eyes wandered around, glancing back over the ceiling, the walls. Wandering not far, just enough to see around a corner or two.

From the mysteries of the symbols yet to be decoded, came one that rang of familiarity. Lines curled into a swirling mass.

Alyssa’s brow furled, for a moment caught in a glimpse of the past, then it was gone. Why she looked down, even the young woman could not say. A glimpse of silver caught her eye. Kneeling down, Alyssa quietly picked up a coin. An antique silver dollar, encased in a silver holder. Her mind kept repeating it was a coincidence, surely the back wouldn’t…but there it was - the inscription. MW - fortuna sua fortuna - SM. The coin hit the ground suddenly, with a soft clang. Alyssa just stared at it, as if she expected it to bite her.

"Alyssa; that coin translates to "Luck is Luck. Is there something special about it? It seems to be bothering you. " said Sartre.

Agent Powers continued to scout the area for any new threats while guarding the team during their investigation. It bothered him that he was lacking in detective skills when he listened to the others compare information and share information. Though he didn’t plan on sharing his feelings with the others, it did make him feel a bit on the dumb side. Granted he was confident in his combat skills, but he was a poor student at best during his homeschool program. Max wondered if he would eventually learn some detective skills in time since he was now working with a team as being a solo agent. Alyssa seemed pretty smart and was like the complete opposite of himself when it came to brains and muscles. Then he noticed Alyssa from the corner of his eye and saw looking nervous about a coin. He asked, "You okay Alyssa?”

"Actually, in this case it translate to “fortune is luck”. Alyssa said, and took a breath. “It’s my father’s.” She said quietly. The two other IIlumanti should know why that was so disturbing, but Alyssa didn’t really know what Max knew about the situation.

Her gaze fell upon the Dragons, yes, they were working together she even kind of felt friendly towards - well some of them - but she didn’t want to tell them this part of her life. It felt like too much. However, it was also true they might already know.

“What would something of your father’s be doing here now?” asked Sartre.

“Good question,” Choi said.

He envied anyone knowing their father. Not that he wished all would not know their parents, but he knew neither father nor mother. Master Park was as much any father he would ever know, and he was old enough to be his grandfather.

“Is your father on our side?”

Alyssa shook her head, then answered the last question first. “Yes, he’s IIuminanti but - well - nothing of his should be here.” This was going to be complicated, if she didn’t just tell them. Alyssa didn’t need or want more complicated - anything. "He vanished five years ago, in Seattle. Most likely into a vortex.”

“A Vortex? Like a portal?” What caused the vortex?" asked Sartre.

“Is that what happened to you back at the church?” Choi observed with a question. “Perhaps it runs in the family.” Choi grinned, adding, “You truly are a mystery girl. Maybe we should call your van the Mystery Machine,” he jested, trying to lighten her mood.

Normally that Scooby Doo comment would earn a giggle out of Max, but right now as Agent Powers didn’t like the fact that this mission just got more complicated. If Alyssa’s dad was a hostage or enemy it meant he could not just kill him with the other enemies like he usually did. He took a deep breath and looked at Alyssa with a smolder before he said, “I know this sounds bad Alyssa, but can you show us a pic of your dad? I’d hate to get on your bad side if he was caught in the crossfire as we press forward.” Agent Powers was not sure how to say that any better since he was lacking in diplomacy skills as well.

Alyssa felt a little bombarded with questions, even if she knew that wasn’t the intention. This time to answer in order. She turned to Peter first. “I wish I knew.”

To Yeong, her response was a little longer only because it answered a lot. “We were on a mission five years ago, together. My father had been asked to investigate an abandoned mental hospital where disappearances had taken place. He had discovered a vortex. It was around day five. I was in my van, and he called me to bring him some tools. I went to bring him the tools.” Alyssa paused to pick the coin back up. “That’s all I remember. I woke up a few days later in my van. Ever since then, weird things, have happened. Like I’ll be one place, then suddenly somewhere else. Or the fact that I no longer remember my dreams, any of them. I used to remember all of them. So, yes I believe what happened at the church is directly related to my father’s disappearance.” She allowed a fleeting smile, Yeong was trying but her mood wasn’t there.

She left the data running in the background, but scrolled through a few pics. “Here,” showing them an image of a dark haired, brown eyed handsome looking man. "That’s him, but I get the feeling that he’s not here. That maybe this is a warning or notice.”
Choi respectfully bowed to Alyssa, the mystery girl. She had been a mystery from his first contact with her through Sartre. He respected her for her courage and her abilities.

“I explained to Master Sung that I believe this entity we seek almost killed Master Park, my mentor,” he explained. “So, we shall work together to seek revenge for our mentors: your father, and my trainer.”

Her father, yes. Her mentor? Alyssa wasn’t so sure about that. She though knew this was the wrong time and her relationship with her parents too personal to discuss, so she nodded in agreement, but then added, "If it is the same thing - I have an overwhelming feeling that it wants me. I can’t say why it hasn’t taken me, if that’s the case.”

Agent Powers did his best to memorize the image of Alyssa’s father but since he knew he would mess that up he whipped out his phone and took a picture of the screen image so he could see it more often to remind himself to not shoot him if possible. He replied, “Thanks. Let me know if we run into anyone else I need to avoid shooting at.” Agent Powers then gave a smolder before scouting the area again.

The database revealed answers, though Alyssa wished there were more. “It says here that. Randolph Carter went insane and an occultist named Harley Warren disappeared in a Florida swamp as he was investigating with Carter. Carter claimed that he had not killed Warren, but Warren had entered into a decaying mausoleum in the swamp and was accosted by several strange creatures that Warren could not describe before being killed. Carter, supposedly, ran away from the scene.” She paused, waiting to see if any additional information came through. "That’s all I have for now but I’ll keep running it.”

“How could the coin get here specifically and at all times, why now? Do you remember this coin?” asked Sartre.

“I don’t think we should dwell on questions we might never get answers to,” Alyssa responded. “I believe maybe it’s the …whatever it is…way of telling me that it can reach me anywhere. Or maybe it’s something else but without being able to ask my father we might never know. If anything else comes up, I’ll let you know.” They needed to get on to the actual pressing issue.

“Does anyone have suggestions, which direction we should go?” asked Sartre.

Choi gave an empathetic facial expression toward Alyssa. She and he, it seemed, had a common goal.

“Just give me a moment,” Yeong answered.

He began the slow methodical motions of dahnmudo. Eyes closed, breathing slowed, he began to reach out with his inner senses. The two ways were as different as night and day. One way, Choi sensed no presence. The other, pure evil. He had no way of sensing any mechanisms, as they would have no spirit presence.

After taking in the input, Choi opened his eyes, saying, “No spirit sensed that way,” he pointed to the right. Pointing to the left, he added, “That way….is heavy with evil.”

Alyssa sighed, “Well, I guess then we should head left.” Part of her really wanted to go right, though.

Agent Powers popped his neck and prepared his golden holy shotgun for action. He replied, “Left it is then. If Choi is right about what’s ahead, then Alyssa make sure you stay behind me. When all hell breaks loose.” Then he began walking down the left path.

“Then; I guess we’ll go left.” said Sartre as he reloaded the magazine to his MP5 assault rifle. “Alyssa, that purple talisman I gave you the other day, Do you have it on? Does it make you feel more powerful and confident when you use it?" he asked.

“Yes, I’m wearing it. And yes it does.” Did she need to feel more confident, Alyssa wasn’t sure. She was pretty confident but exploring catacombs with evil entities running around wasn’t exactly something she was used to. Still, she wore it, it made her feel better which made Peter feel better, she assumed. After all, this was the third time today he had made sure the hacker still had on the bracelet. So, she took it as important because it was important to him.

Choi looked at Eun-Ji. He had an idea that just might help bring the group fair warning of any traps or ambushes.

“Miss Moon,” Yeong inquired, “Do you believe some of your images can go ahead of us?”

Eun-Ji had been silent as the grave. Her attention was but partially on the group’s conversation and more focused on the uncertainty and unpredictability of their present environment. During her hunts with her older brother, she learned that evil was not like a video game where it just waited for you trigger hit boxes or arrive at certain locations. Evil could be calculating and easily be irrational, passive aggressive as easily as violent, and spinning a trap as much as on the assault. Though she looked calm, Eun-Ji was in her feeling of her chaotic potential; exercising her intuition.

She nodded to Yeong’s request. She spared one illusion of herself to venture down the path towards pure evil. It moved convincingly, as it held two hammers, like she was cautiously exploring. Her other illusions stayed with her. “One should suffice as bait, giving any ambush the confidence of an easy target.”

Sartre followed close behind the illusion, His rifle shouldered at the ready. He checked to make sure that everyone else was following behind the leading illusion. He listened for indicators Like footsteps or for signs like puffs of dust being moved across the dirt floor.

Choi waited for powers to move out, then followed. He held the sword down by his side.

Inwardly, Yeong was proud of his partner. She was utilizing her skills and abilities for the good of the party.

Posted by : Cindy

Callista flexed her claws and sneered at the two Templars. A guttural growl escaped from her throat before she charged at Corinth, a renewed hunger of bloodlust filling her up. She swiped high at his face before swiping lower at his abdomen. He dodged both, but lost ground as she pressed her advance.

Magdalena flanked her and swung her hammer low, slamming it into the left thigh of Calista. The Empusa dropped to a knee and then turned to swipe at her attacker, but Magdalena was already out of range. Digging her claws into the roof, Calista dashed after Magdalena, crashing into her and sending the Templar spiraling away. Before Magdalena could act, Calista was on top of her clawing away in a frenzy at armor and skin.

A flurry of shots rang out as Corinth let loose a swarm of bullets from Powell and Loy. Most of the bullets hit home, causing Calista to roll away and focus her attention back on him. He quickly holstered the empty guns and pulled out Reeves and Bale, but Calista was on him before he could aim. She grabbed him by the neck and slammed him down onto the roof, knocking the wind out of his lungs.

Rising to her feet slowly, Magdalena picked up her hammer and slowly ran towards her enemy. She was bleeding from her wounds, but she still had enough strength to end the fight…or she hoped. Raising the hammer above her head, she prepared to bring it down with all her might onto the back of the Empusa, but Calista was faster. Before she could react, a hand was around her throat squeezing, forcing her to drop the hammer.

Calista had had enough. No more games, no more playing with her food. It was time to finish this so she could get out of the city and start over somewhere else. Somewhere that would take the Templars months to figure out where she was, and by then, she could have moved again. Always staying ahead of her pursuers until she was strong enough to wipe them all out.

The Empusa advanced to the edge of the rooftop, suspending the Templar precariously over the streets below. It was a long fall and death would be instant, even from one of Gaia’s chosen. Calista laughed as the one called Magdalena clawed at her wrist, trying to break free.

“It is useless to keep fighting. Either I drop you and you die or I squeeze your throat until you do. I haven’t decided which would be more fun yet.”

The sound of gun fire erupted behind her and she rocked forward as three bullets hit her in the back. She growled loudly and turned around to see Corinth with both of his guns leveled at her. He didn’t know what to do in this situation. Being a Templar, he knew that the killing of the Empusa was paramount, but he couldn’t just sit back and watch his fellow Templar, friend, get dropped off a building.

“You drop her and I’ll make sure you get locked inside the smallest container I can find for all eternity!”

“Don’t threaten me, Templar,” Calista hissed, “or I might do the exact thing you told me not to do.” Calista smiled and then released her grip, letting Magdalena go.

In the blink of an eye, everything slowed down. Corinth dropped his guns and broke out into a sprint. Even with his Haste spell, he wouldn’t be able to reach her in time. As he drew closer to her, he watched as she slowly disappeared over the edge. Her fingers were the last he saw.

Corinth ran past the Empusa, easily dodging a swipe and jumped over the edge, diving after Magdalena. The world sped up again as the spell wore off, sending everything into overdrive. Extending his arm, Corinth reached out to grab Magdalena’s hand. Once he grabbed her, his hand gripping her wrist like a vice, he activated Spider Climb and pressed his other hand to the side of the building, slowing his decent enough that he could maneuver around to be right side up.

“I got you,” he yelled to her.

“For hell’s sake, you better.”

He looked up and then down at Magdalena. “Mags…I need you to swing towards the window. Break it so you can get inside. Think you can do that?”

“I’m a Demolisha, what’d you think?”

“Fair enough,” he said through gritted teeth. His arm felt like it was on fire. “Put your feet against the glass…kick off, and then break the window when I swing you back. Got it?” He looked skyward again.

“I got it, mate!”

“We only got one shot at this.”

Magdalena put both her feet on the glass and kicked off with all she could. Corinth held her wrist tightly and moved outward with her and then pulled her forward with every bit of strength he had. When she was close enough, she pulled back her fist with her right hand and punched at the window. Building windows were a lot thicker than regular glass window as they have to hold up to higher winds, but when Magdalena punched the glass, it shattered in an explosion as easily as a plastic cup.

Letting her go, Corinth watched as she rolled away and then stopped, looking over to him. “Come on,” she yelled. “Your turn.”

He looked up again and then back to her. “You know…I always loved the name Magdalena.” A soft red aura appeared around him as his shotgun appeared in his free hand. Very quickly he lifted it up and pointed it above him.

In a flash, Magdalena heard the shotgun go off and then something rushed past the window in a blur. One second Corinth was there and the next he was gone. She blinked a couple of more times and then heard the crashing sound from outside. Car alarms began going off, filling the air with repetitive loud beeps and horn honks. She hurriedly made her way to the window and looked down. She sank to her knees and punched the floor as hard as she could.

“Damn it…,” was all she could say. Below her, Corinth lay under the slowly disintegrating body of the Empusa, the barrels of his shotgun punctured through her chest and out her back. Right where her heart would be. A fitting end, Magdalena thought to herself as she gained her composure and made her way to the stairs. He was gone, she knew that. No one, not even a Child of Gaia, could survive a fall like that.


Corinth’s eyes opened. He was standing alone in a room full of white. No entrance, no exit, just white in all directions and as far as he could see. Even though he had been there before, it was still disconcerting, but he knew what he had to do. He began walking forward.

As he did, the path he walked became narrower. He didn’t know how, he just knew it did. Both sides of the pathway began to change. To his left, it became brighter, warmer, almost comforting. The realm of The Host. To his right, it become darker, colder, almost powerful. The Realm of The Dreaming Ones.

He continued walking, each side growing stronger around him, pulling him in both directions. Finally, he came to an intersection. One path went to his left, one to his right, and one forward. The one forward was a short path that stopped at a mirrored reflection of himself. Corinth gazed into it for a moment before looking to his left and then to his right. He had a decision to make. Did he follow the Shadow or the Luminance? He couldn’t remember what he chose last time. Or maybe he did. Maybe he would choose the opposite this time.

He stood there another long moment trying to decide what to do. If he even wanted to make a choice. Did he want to continue fighting all the time? Was he making a difference? Was he only slowing down the inevitable? He was tired. So, so tired. He looked at his reflection. He looked to his left. He looked to his right.

Then he took a step.

Posted by : Dblitz13

Alyssa stayed behind Powers, as promised. She also kept an eye and ear out for anything strange or dangerous.
Agent Powers had his guard up as he was prepared to blast the next target that popped out to attack them. He was fearless when it came to combat, since he was trained to do it at an early age. Granted he didn’t know what his enemy was going to be outside skeletons, but he he felt confident in his gear and muscles. He had yet to find an enemy he could not kill. As he moved forward with a purpose he scanned the area for any movement.
It took a little time to walk the narrow tunnels. It was dark and dusty, the smell unbearable of old blood, things had died there was no second-guessing that. The tunnels lead into a large chamber with large stone doors across from the party. Bodies were lying around in different states of decay.
The Last Keeper. At an abandoned site in front of some massive stone doors, the party discovers a journal detailing a failed investigation to find the remnants of The Tomb of the Keeper holding a very old journal. That night, whoever reads the journal finds writings, the journal’s writer Ana. She encourages the party to pick up where her investigation left off, promising riches within the tomb of the Litch.
There is a silver necklace around the neck of Ana’s remains. if Anima is channeled through it gives protection from evil.
Since ancient times, a secret arcane order has maintained vigil over the Tomb of the Litch, keeping the tomb’s evil sealed within. Now, the order’s ranks have dwindled to a single member, Ana. As lies on her deathbed, She asks for the party through her writing, begging them to enter the tomb and deal with the evil inside so that one needs to guard it ever again.
The tomb:
The characters scour around the front tomb and succeed in checking, they find the weathered entrance to the tomb partially buried in the dirt. The party each gains exhaustion, the feeling of being drained. uneasy like being tipsy, Speed is halved. You feel weak and feel like your stamina has been drained. Your Life force is halved, everyone is frightened. It is hard to move your body; it does not want to move forward to the doors.
The stone door to the tomb is magically sealed. A detect magic spell reveals that the door radiates an aura of abjuration magic. It is immune to all damage and can only be opened by providing a proper sacrifice
Loyal Sacrifice. The tomb’s door bears a carving of a skeletal hand encased in black fire. A person who is proficient in Arcana, History, or Religion recognizes it as a sign, commonly used in spell books and scrolls, to indicate when a spell deals necrotic damage to a person.
When a person enters a space within 5 feet of the door, an ancient voice carried on the wind whispers to them.
“The tomb requires a willing sacrifice of decay to prove your loyalty to the guardian or if you have no magic to offer, give us your blood and we will empower the decay.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Sartre. His MP5 felt heavy in his hands as he began to feel fatigued.
Alyssa suddenly felt like she was carrying a ton, and as tired as pulling several all-nighters in a row. “Decay. The dead? Maybe they want one of us to sacrifice ourselves, or give them, or it, blood. Either way it doesn’t sound good.” As Alyssa was speaking she was moving closer to the wall. She put her hands on it, and had the others back away. “I could, maybe, take down the wall or try to dismantle it.” A rat ran across the floor. "Or I could just give it some blood.”
Sartre said. “I’ll give blood with you.” He pulled out a tactical knife and tossed it to the hacker.
Catching the knife, [i]Well, here goes possibly everything.[i] Alyssa thought. Her fingers were valuable and even a paper cut made her job harder, so she opted for an area mid way up her forearm. Making a cut, not too deep, but big enough to bleed. The hacker them stood at the door allowing the blood to drip down.
Spikes rose from the door with a handprint in the middle. It wanted them to stab themselves with the spike in both hands all the way one on each side.
Alyssa stared at the spikes, “This is going to be painful. Someone stand behind me, in case I pass out.” Alyssa closed her eyes for a second and took a few deep breaths.
Sartre stood behind the thin hacker. "I’ll go after you Alyssa.”
Alyssa took one more breath, trying to focus on something else, and quickly, not giving herself a chance to blackout, impaled her hands on the spikes.
The pain shot through her hands and into her arms, she managed to not scream but did turn as white as a ghost.
“You alright Alyssa?” Sartre stepped up to place his hands on the spikes, careful to not jump at the pain.
Alyssa glared at Satre for just a flicker. “No, I just stabbed both of my hands with spikes. No, I am not okay. Maybe hold off stabbing yourself till we know if it’s necessary.” She sort of hissed her words, but it was the pain talking and she now wasn’t sure if she should remove her hand from the spikes or if they needed to stay there.
Choi wasn’t able to move as fluidly as he was used to. He tried to go through the motions of dahnmudo, to give Alyssa some positive energy, but it was useless. He was not able to do the motions as he should.
Yeong couldn’t hold back the snicker from Alyssa’s sarcasm. She definitely was spunky. Although, the way he was brought up in the monastery caused Choi to regret not being able to help her.
“I’ll wait. You are definitely a Lumie Girl Alyssa.” said Sartre. He was concerned about the lacerations on her hands.
Agent Powers was feeling tired and concerned he might revert back to his kid form. He dropped his jaw in awe as he saw Alyssa mutilate her hands and drain her blood to open the evil door. He considered the idea but knew it was not a good idea since he was the muscle and needed his strength for what was on the other side of the door. He replied, "I really hope we can get your hands fixed considering you need them for your computers. If we do get the door open should I toss a few grenades in to deal with what’s inside before we go in?”
It took Choi much effort to even raise his brows. “Grenades?” he thought aloud. “In an unstable underground? I don’t want to bring this ceiling down upon us or have the percussion begin a vibration which will trigger the fault line here.”
“Should I try it Alyssa?” asked Sartre.
Moon remained at present a spectator of the drama unfolding. She had thought about trying to slow everyone down to think this through before so courageously following the doors prompt. If it took such an act to open the door then perhaps the evil on the other side of it, while free, could not get past the door. By opening it, they could have played right into its wishes. She sighed as that train of thought was made null and void. Her illusions and her waited far enough away from the scene to be on the edge of what would count as being a part of the group.
Agent Powers kept his guard up as he was ready to take action as soon as the door opened. He was very focused on whatever evil that lurked inside. Granted he was lacking in the detective skills and wisdom of the others, he was still good at combat. Oddly enough he was rated quite high despite his age. He then spoke up like a hardened adult, “We don’t know what is on the other side of this door, but we can all agree that it will be bad either way. I was trained to fight in insane odds against horrible people and monsters, so I will go in and kill the enemy even if I am alone. But I want to say this now…if you can’t handle it or plan to run away…do it now. I won’t hold it against you if you can’t handle it, but if your pride gets anyone hurt or killed, I won’t be nice about it. Alyssa please hang back with someone, since you need medical attention. I plan on attacking from the front, so if any of you plan to join me…split up and flank from the right and left side to avoid friendly fire.” Agent Powers gave everyone a serious smolder before he said, "Any last minute thoughts or questions?”
Power’s bravado was beginning to rub Choi the wrong way. It was almost as if the man was overcompensating for something else.
“I think you need a little more testosterone there Powers,” Yeong mused. “I got an idea. Why don’t you go after those guys that hijacked the tractor trailer full of ■■■■■■. Here’s a little hint: You’ll be looking for hardened criminals.”
Choi slowly got prepared to battle. It seemed to take forever to lift his sword into strike position. It seemed so heavy.
Alyssa rolled her eyes. She was losing a lot of blood and didn’t do this to just have them go in shooting without knowing what they were shooting at. "Max, settle down. First of all, we don’t know who’s behind that door, what if it’s the guy we’re trying to rescue - might - be - se -. Alyssa’s head started to spin and then the hacker fell unconscious.

Sartre reached to catch Alyssa, gently laying her down on the floor.
Choi gazed upon the unconscious Alyssa upon the floor of the tunnel. He shook his head. Such pain and sacrifice this team had made already. There was much more ahead; Yeong could feel it.
“Master Sung?” he addressed his elder. “Can you help her?”
Sartre bent down, grabbing a medical kit from his pack, pulling out disinfectant spray, he reached to disinfect her lacerations. He knew this would wake her up.
“Yes but just know I can only do this a few times a day,” answered Sung stepping forward Sung kneeled beside Alyssa. He places his hand over her just above her chest. He mumbled some words. The air swirled around Alyssa. Then She could open her eyes.
Sung smiled “Good morning,” said Sung. “She will be weak, still. There is no hard exsertion for her.” Suggested Sung standing and then looking at the door.
The tomb’s door bears a carving of a skeletal hand encased in black fire. A person who is proficient in Arcana, History, or Religion recognizes it as a sign, commonly used in spell books and scrolls. it is definitely a seal to keep something on the other side. Sung and others realize the same thing “what have we done?” comments Sung.
“Into the Pits of Hell, I think.” suggests Sung. He changes his posture to a defensive one.
Alyssa slowly opened her eyes, to Sung saying “good morning.” Someone had taken care of bandaging her hands, but she could feel them fixing themselves. Was that Sung, or her? Still she felt weak, and her hands hurt.
The hacker wasn’t saying much or going to argue about taking it easy. She slowly sat up. Hearing Sung comment about what was behind the door. Alyssa quipped, "Well, that sounds like I might have made the wrong decision.”
The doors grinned open outward as they opened, it felt to be assisted, maybe by magic. The doors were thick, maybe a foot thick of some medal. looking into the room

OCC: note anything thrown, shot, or any other attacks are stopped in midair and just floats there frozen in time.
The Ceilings are made of stone. The ceilings are 10 feet high and etched in runic symbols that keep the wards of the tomb active. This chamber is massive 50’ square feet. A floral Scent is trying to mask the smell of death, and rotting flesh. The tomb magically smells like fresh-cut flowers.
Four stone pillars surround a stone throne built atop a sarcophagus. Sitting on the throne, a Litch wearing a crown, holding an ancient tome. A lich is a gaunt and skeletal humanoid with withered flesh stretched tight across its bones. Its eyes succumbed to decay long ago, but points of light burn in its empty sockets. There is garbed in the moldering remains of fine clothing and jewelry worn and dulled by the passage of time. Images carved into the walls depict hundreds of mages casting spells to change the weather, block out the sun, kill forests, and move water in tidal waves.
This chamber has a part library. In the southwest corner. Along the walls, benches and shelves hold tools and books.
Organized rows of bookshelves on the north walls are labeled with the subject matter of their tomes, ranging from artistic chronicles to records of the weather.”
Between the shelves, a staggered row of tables runs from one side of the room to the other. One table is piled high with worn books.
Rusted and decayed weapons are fused into some of the walls of this chamber. Clay jars crowded on glass pedestals stand in the northwest corner of the room.
On the other wall are three people chained up hanging on the wall. There is a large magic circle in front of them carved in granite stone. Matthew Wilson is in the middle of the other two people, a woman, one looking close to death. Matthew Wilson looks like he has aged 20 years or older and is in bad condition.
“I welcome you. Thank you for freeing me. I am Countess Demonia,” She said in a raspy tone.
Agent Powers watched as the doors opened up while he was aiming his holy golden shotgun. The whole thing with the doors was very creepy and the female lich calling herself “Count De-money” made him question a lot of things. Then he spoke up, “Hello Count De-money. Nice name…NOT. You can fill this place with a ton of potpourri but you will never hide the smell of your rancid butt. You know, I have met some dumb ■■■■■■ in my life, but you take the taco, lady! Only a Creepy Lich would come back to life now and choose a San Francisco sewer! Tasty pick, bonehead! If you had brain one in that huge melon on top of your neck, you would be living the sweet life out in Southern California’s beautiful San Fernando Valley!” Agent Powers was ready to start blasting his target as he gave the Lich a smolder.
Alyssa sighed and made it to standing, not only was Max using the wrong title, he was mispronouncing her name. She directed the words at Max but through the chips in their heads. “What, are you trying to get us all killed? Please just stop. And she’s not a Count - a man is a Count - is she a man?” Alyssa was still feeling weak.
The Countess speaks a word of power “Postrate your self!” that echoes in the room and feels like it passed through everyone’s body overwhelming the mind of Max, leaving him dumbfounded as he falls to his knees and bows to her uncontrollably.
Choi took in the books on the shelves. “I just came to check out a book. I hear you have an interesting collection here…Mind if I take a look?”
Choi began to walk toward them. He kept an eye on the lich as he walked to the left of her. His sword was still drawn as a defensive measure.
Alyssa rubbed her temple. “Countess I do apologize for him,” Pointing at Max. “He does not have a filter and is pretty adolescent sometimes when he speaks.” She glanced around, “You know this place is nicer than some areas of San Francisco.”
Sartre figured it was best to feign and placate The Countess. He prostrated.
Agent Power’s outward appearance looked like a muscular man struggling against an increase of gravity as he was resisting and sweating a lot. However on the inside he was panicking like a kid wondering how he was going to get out of this mess. His powerful body was not moving and he was literally helpless at the moment. To make things worse he was worried he might run out of energy too soon and revert back to his teen self in front of everyone. He was doing his best to not break down and cry at the moment as he tried to think of something clever but nothing came to mind.
Choi takes some steps forward toward the bookshelves and is stopped. his feet do not want to move and his legs are shaking. The force that was weighing on him was immense. The presence of the Lich was overbearing. He just felt like falling to his knees.
Yeong felt the pressure to force him to the ground. With everything inside him, Choi reached to the strength of the spirit. His spirit remained unyielding. The weight of oppression bore down upon him, yet defiance burned in his eyes.
His mind raced, weaving threads of rebellion. Memories of loved ones, promises made, and a cause greater than himself fueled Yeong’s resolve. The taste of freedom lingered on his tongue. Sweat dripped from his brow, mixing with the dust of the floor, as he fought to remain upright.
The room seemed to close in, oppressive and suffocating. The very act of kneeling became a battleground—a symbol of surrender versus defiance. His trembling hands clenched into fists, nails digging into his palms. He would not break. Not here. Not now.
And so, as the world blurred around him, he drew strength from the depths of his soul. Each heartbeat echoed defiance, a rhythm of rebellion that drowned out the presence of the lich. It would never break his spirit.
He became a testament to resilience. Despite the pain, despite the odds stacked against him, he remained defiant, unyielding, and free in spirit.
Countess Demonia watched Alyssa rub her temples. “Child, I have had a long time to make this place the way it is. Who are you? There is something familiar about you.” Demonia asked inquisitively.
Then turned to Choi. “Strong-willed are we. I do not want you dead yet.” The Countess commented. She waved her hand and Choi was thrown back by the door. It was easy for him to stay on his feet as he slid to a stop near the door.
Agent Powers gritted his teeth in defiance as he continued to resist. He refused to give in but ironically could not come up with anything to do or say at the moment. Sweat dripped from his bald head as he grunted. He was scared he would lose his fake muscular body before they could even fight the enemy. He needed to come up with a solution but time was not on his side.
Alyssa gave a nod, “I believe I haven’t met you before but that may be incorrect. Countess, perhaps you have met my father?” Alyssa figured the Countess could get information from her one way or the other, and the hacker was not up for fighting the being. “I am Alyssa Wilson. My father is Matt Wilson.” Or maybe that saying - Catching flies with honey instead of vinegar.
The Countess looked at Agent Powers and gave a sly smile releasing Powers. “Now little boy conduct yourself like a gentleman or next time I might turn you into something unpleasant,” Countess said in a stern tone. “You need to respect your elders.” She added.
“Matt Wilson, child? I think I have heard that name. Oh yes, smart man and a bit foolish.” Countess waved her hand in the direction of Matt Wilson. I thought something felt familiar about you, same spirit or same link anyways. He has been, how do the kids say it now? Oh yes, hanging around with me.” said the Countess with an evil smile.
Alyssa had recognized her father, but she wanted to know if that was real or an illusion. And if The Countess knew it was the same person. “I suppose if I run over to him you will stop me.” She was trying to not let it show, but there were certainly tears forming in her eyes betraying her. “Countess, if I may ask. Are you the one that’s been after me?”
Agent Powers was relieved as he was freed from the overwhelming power of the Countess. He was tired and felt drained as he was able to breath properly once again. However he knew the moment he tried to attack again he would be stopped so he remained on all fours to regain his composure and energy loss. As he quietly listened to the Countess and Alyssa talk as he was hoping for a chance to turn the tables.
The oppressive miasmic feeling and ceaseless weight of corruption was gradually fading from Eun-Jin with each step. This was because she never entered the chamber along with the others and was leaving the catacombs entirely. It was easy to slip out, her three other illusions having covered for her and due to strategically positioning herself to make this slip from the misdirection.
The illusions entered the chamber behind the rest. The real one departed. Chaos was at work, and it urged her to reconsider the approach the others were taking; in short, it was folly. Another approach would present itself unpredictably.
As the others interacted with the Lich in the chamber her illusions suddenly shattered and faded from view, dissolving into the air. She had gone too far to keep them up. She had left them to deal with what they just carelessly opened.
His back against the door, watching Eun-Jo’s illusions break into shards, Choi was disappointed she yet again left her team in peril. He was frustrated he could do nothing.
Hearing that the man on the wall was Alyssa’s father brought further frustration to Yeong. He never knew his parents. At least Alyssa knew her father. And now, she was reunited with him. The only way he could reunite with his is in death.
“Let her father go,” Choi humbly requested. “If you desire a captive, take me.” He had no family to whom to return, unless you counted Master Park and the monks.
Alyssa turned at looked at Choi, surprised by his willing sacrifice. “Thank you, Yeong, that means more than I can say, but I can’t let you do that, for me or my father. Besides, unless I am mistaken I believe the Countess really wants me.” Alyssa turned back to the Countess. “Is that accurate, you want me because of my messed up bee? Because I have all that power unable to be tapped,yet.” The Countess must have sensed it, at some point.
Alyssa didn’t really concern herself with what Eun-Jin was or wasn’t doing, she had other things to worry about. However, when Alyssa realized the one Dragon she was actually concerned about having the information Alyssa had tried to keep from them wasn’t there, it was actually a little bit of a relief.
Sartre closely watched Alyssa.
Agent Powers quietly listened as the others tried to figure out what to do. It made him very anxious to know the Countess Lich lady wanted Alyssa for a reason. He knew it was not good to lose Alyssa, especially since he was assigned to keep her alive and aid her in her missions. He was afraid his father would be very upset if he failed his first team mission after all this time. Disappointing father was a terrifying thought since he saw what happened to others that failed his father in the past. Max’s father was very strict and demanded success from others. He did not tolerate excuses and his spartan training was enough to reinforce that fear. Sadly he was still unable to find a way to kill the Lich yet so he decided to use patience and quietly wait for an opportunity.
The Countess smirks “Child, I can not lie you interest me greatly. Your ability is locked away for some reason. I can see you have wisdom beyond your years Child. Swear an oath to serve me. I will let you live and help you gain your power. I will spare your father as well,” said The Countess. He had a smile and an evil intent.
Then the Countess not waiting on the answer “There is another come out from the back worrer. Your sword, the ancient blade, has given you away.” She announced it to the group.
The Countess reached out with her hand and pulled Sung towards her when Sung did not step out. Sung looked restrained as he was dragged to the front of the group. There was a flash of steel. People knew his sword moved. All that they noticed was him sheathing the sword as he stood defiant.
“Alyssa,” the sound of a male voice, barely a whisper. Matt Wilson had remained quiet until now but given the Countess’ offer to his daughter, felt he had to speak.
Alyssa hearing the normally deep voice of her father be barely a whisper, couldn’t take it. She took a breath. “Countess, I hope you do not mind but my father wants to speak with me.”
Alyssa went towards the man who was chained against the wall. He had been a strong, intelligent man. The hacker was sure the intellect was there but he looked emaciated and weak. “Father,” She wanted to comfort him, to free him from this prison.
“Alyssa,” Matt spoke again. “Don’t go with her. You have so much potential, do not waste it with her.”
“Father…I…” Alyssa realized her father was willing to sacrifice himself, his freedom for her. “You need medical attention.”
“Little bird, listen to me.” Her father used the nickname he had given her when she was very young, she hadn’t heard it in years. “I am sorry I couldn’t have been there more when you were growing up. I missed so much.”
“You were off saving the world, or trying to. I understand now.” Alyssa had spent her youth hurt and angry at her father for never being around but now knew the why.
“I know your mother…” Matt’s voice drifted a little. “Things are not easy with her.”.
Well, that’s an understatement Alyssa thought to herself. “We don’t need to discuss mother right now.”
Alyssa had never seen her father cry, not even at the passing of her grandparents. Now, tears filled his eyes as did her own. Matt spoke again. “You can’t go with her. No matter what she says, promise me.”
“Father, I,” It was easy to tell the young woman had thought about giving herself to the Countess so her father could be freed.
“Promise me.” Despite how weak the man was, those words were unmistakably an order.
Alyssa nodded, knowing her father wasn’t going to budge on the issue. “I promise.”
The Lich let out a sigh. “That was so heart moving it reminds me how I loved my last lover.” She seems to think. “That was over 200 years ago.” she looked back at the others. “With that man alone consuming his life essence I would not need to feed for 10 years,” she said looking at Sung. “The rest of you would be a snack at best,” stated Countess. with a smile. “But you all freed me so I will offer you all the same deal, swear an oath to me, serve me and I will let you live.” The Countess offers the players.
“I suggest we take it.” said Sartre The rest of the group knew it was a tactical ruse.
Alyssa looked at the Countess. “Countess, does that offer apply to everyone?” Pointing at Sung. She got that Peter was offering a ruse, and was playing along and the Countess had already said she’d release her father.
Agent Powers had a pained expression on his face as he heard Sartre suggest they surrender to the Lich as he was on all fours still recovering. Since he had never been on a team before he was unaware it was a ruse. He was under the impression that Sartre really wanted them to give up. It pained him to know the adults were so weak minded to give up so quickly. Then he heard Alyssa ask for more details on who would be spared. He was not going down like that. He would rather go down fighting like a warrior instead of a coward. Maybe his actions could turn the tide even if just a moment. But he needed a good attack that would work. He looked at his shotgun and then realized that Sung would be used as a shield. Then he remembered he had some orbs of holy water in his pocket. He wanted to reach for them but it would attract to much attention. Then he remembered he could adjust his outer body, so he focused on his fake outside appearance and slowly migrated the orbs of holy water through his pants, through his muscular legs, through his muscular torso and through his muscular arms till they were inside his hands and forearms hidden from sight. He was relaxing his mind and body as he was preparing for a chance to react.
Choi tried to take in all this information. He was unfamiliar with working with this Illuminati team. He wasn’t sure of their tactics.
Yeong wasn’t even familiar with the Dragon team with whom he was currently assigned. He may need to ask for a reassignment. One of those on his own team seemed to have a mind of her own, with no thought of team.
Choi always tried to keep positive. It was what he learned in schooling at the monastery. What would Master Park do?
“So,” Choi inquisitively asked, “you are asking us to be the yin to your yang?”
He was considering this as a way for the lich to let up. If they could get her to drop her defenses, perhaps they had a chance.
The Countess lifted her hand telling Choi to hold his question. She never took her eyes off Sung. “What is your name?” The Countess asked, her tone was inquisitive.
Sung shook his head looking at the ground. “What? You do not trust me?” Commented Sung. He cracked a smile “To you, Mr. Sung Shun Shi.” Sung answered the Countess’s question.
While the Countess was busy with Sung, Alyssa noticed Max was doing something, even if she couldn’t tell exactly what. The hacker knew that the man who was really barely one, was probably planning something that would blow everything.
Alyssa thought into the chip, at Max. Max, what ever your thinking of doing don’t. Its a ruse. You’re going to blow it if you attack, and probably end up worse than dead.”
Agent Powers was startled by the sound of Alyssa’s voice. He didn’t think anyone was watching him since he was still in the same place the Lich dropped him to. He gritted his teeth as he listened to her words. He replied through the chip, “EEEhhhhh??? Sounds more like we are turning on each other. I am just waiting to see how this plays out. My mission is to protect our team. Remember?” Agent Powers continued to recover his strength as he waited to see what Sung was going to do.
“I thought it was a logical question,” chimed Choi. “You know, if we are working together, it would be the positivity of our yin with the negativity of your yang. It would be creating a balance. Is that what you want us to provide? The balance of a yin to your yang?”
Inwardly, Yeong was grinning. He was hoping his constant jabbering was creating enough of a distraction for Sung.
“Powers? Did I hear her calling you a little boy? You are mistaken, Countess. Although sometimes he seems to say immature things, Agent Powers is a grown man. Older than myself. Although, not as old as some. What do you think, Powers? You up to being the yin for the Countess’ Yang? The balance of yin and yang could be a continuous cycle. A full circle. That would be us alright!”
Alyssa thought back into the chip, Do you trust me? I mean I trust you, does it work both ways? Because, if so, trust me now. No one is turning on each other. We are trying to make her let down her defenses, her hold on Sung. There’s not one of us who can fight her alone. We need to do this together. Please, just believe me.``
“Alyssa,” the weak voice of her father could be heard again. “You promised.”
She was still close to her father, close enough that when she turned to look at him again, he managed a wink so quick only Alyssa would see it.
“I am sorry father but it might be our only chance.” He still had his intellect, given his state though Alyssa didn’t know if that was a good or bad thing. She wondered though why he wasn’t using the chip to communicate with her.
Agent Powers closed his eyes as he listened to Alyssa. It was hard for him to change his way of doing things. He had been a solo soldier for so long it was hard work in a team. He began to understand what his father was telling him about expanding his horizons. True he had been through hell and back on his own but now he had new responsibilities and a team to protect. He felt it was wrong to give in but his orders were to protect his team and take their lead even if he was against it. He calmed himself down again as he lowered his breathing before replying to Alyssa through his chip, “Fine. It’s your call, but if you are wrong we are all dead.” Agent Powers didn’t look at Alyssa as he looked at the ground and used his peripheral vision to see what the lich was doing.
Alyssa then thought into the chip at Peter, “Peter, I get it’s a ruse but I sure hope you know what you’re doing.”
She was glad Yeong was playing along. Either it would work or they’d end up in a bad way.
The Countess lifted her hand as one of the chained women moned. He looked at her “You are interrupting me dog!” declared the Countess. With a wave of her hands, white mist flowed from her body to the Countess’s hand. a white glowing ball formed as the woman became a dried husk. Nothing but skin and bone left of the women. As the body turned to dust and fell to the ground.
Sung bowed his head and relaxed his arms at his side; he looked defeated.” All right stop" said Sung, sounding tired. Sung bowed his head and relaxed his arms at his side. “If you spare the others I will surrender to you,” said Sung, almost stumbling forward a few steps. He drops to one knee.
The Countess smiles “Swear to serve me now Sung Shun Shi!” The Countess demands.
“I swear to The Eternal Watch” yelled Sung. Briefly Sung was surrounded by white mist, in an instant even the human eye could not catch Sung was near Alyssa. Drawing his sword in one graceful movement He cut the chains of the woman and Alyssa’s father. Sung then vanished, appearing near the Countess. The strike was not even seen as a cut just appeared on her chest with a flash of light. It was deep and burning her as she disappeared in a puff of black smoke.
The Countess appeared before people could react behind the group near the door she struck Sartre in the back sending him flying into Agent Powers both of them rolled to the middle of the room. his Sartre’s body instantly got cold like all of the heat was drained from him. He was feeling weak not even being able to walk.
When the lich disappeared, Choi realized her energy was going elsewhere. He could freely move. He closed his eyes, reaching out with his spiritual sense, for it never deceived him.
He heard the thump of Sartre and Powers coming together and sensed the Countess behind them. As Sartre’s presence was no longer there, but upon the floor with Max, Yeong, with eyes closed, swung his geom quickly at the lich.
“I was always trained that yin and yang work together, not against each other,” he stated.
Realizing that he felt drained, Sartre Managed to pick himself up off the floor and regain at least some of his stamina. He figured that bullets would not work here so he decided to do something he had not done in 12 years. He would use elemental or new magic, magic that did not require use of a grimoire. He casted the freeze spell Which would envelop the gargantuan lich In ice for a few seconds before shattering and causing both freezing And slicing damage. As he launched the frigid energy blast from his hand. He lost all feeling in his fingertips. As the lich became Frozen and covered in ice, Sartre rushed for hand to hand combat.
As her father fell down from the chains, she caught him. He was so weak and thin now, that he didn’t weigh much.
Putting her hands in his, Matt Wilson whispered. “Destroy her.” She had no thought to disobey her father’s wish.
Alyssa watched what the others were doing. She was, technically, still recovering from all the lost blood earlier but wasn’t nearly as weak as she had been.
The hacker also realized quickly gunpower wouldn’t be the answer. Her power required touching the woman.
Well, that might be convenient or won’t work. Alyssa ran closer to the lich, the ice didn’t last long enough, and Alyssa tried putting her hand directly on the lich.
The sword swung from Choi and cut into her; she winced as it burned, cutting through her. The Ice casing appeared over The Lich just after the cut. The Lich Ice case burst into small chards as she vanished from that spot in a whiff of black smoke. She appeared across the room away from everyone.
Alyssa was close enough to feel the ice shards, they didn’t injure her but stung just a bit.
When the hacker realized she missed the Countess, “Shit,” hissed from her mouth. There had to be a way to kill that thing.
Alyssa used the chip. “I take it back. Don’t use a gun but do something.”
It was then to try to figure out if the Countess was able to snuck up on.
Agent Powers heard Alyssa’s cry for help and he quickly put his hand to his mouth and shoved four baseball sized ampules of holy water in his mouth. Now he resembled a rather muscular chipmunk with huge puffy cheeks before there was a slight crunch of glass in his mouth. Then much like the fire breathers in the carnival, Agent Powers used his powerful lungs to spray the holy water in the direction of the Lich and above her so the mist would slowly rain down on everyone in the room. Then he reached for his shotgun to prepare for a shot as he spit out the glass.
Choi’s brows raised at Powers’ action. “Now that was worth a smolder!” he exclaimed with a smirk.
Yeong closed his eyes again to sense the lich’s spirit. His senses were locked in on her. Wherever she would reappear, he’d know. Raising his geom before him, he awaited to see what would happen from the holy water.
Deciding to take a risk, Sartre Decided to raise his rifle and launch a grenade from his rocket launcher attached to his MP5. He did not know what it would do but he figured it would be worth the attempt. He launched the grenade towards the lich.
Choi wasn’t pleased with the choice of a grenade. He had already told Powers it wasn’t a good choice for weapons in these underground passages, which could come down upon them. Why was it with these Illuminati and their choice of weaponry?
It was then that Choi began to feel the pain from the ice shards. For some reason, he seemed to attract splinters. At least the ice would eventually melt. Choi dove for some rocks to shelter himself from the blast.
“Take cover!” he shouted to the others.
While Alyssa knew to tell Max not to use firepower, she wasn’t thinking the same held true for Peter. As she assumed the man knew better. That was until she saw the rifle.
This time the hacker was too late. She missed telling Peter that wasn’t a good idea. Hearing Yeong’s call for everyone to take cover. Alyssa went to the ground, then felt her father shielding her from the blast.
Agent Powers was about to shoot his holy shotgun at the Lich till he saw a muzzle flash from the corner of his eye. He wanted to speak his thoughts of “OH SHI…!”, but his mouth was unable to keep up with his brain, so he tried to take cover as best as he could as he dove behind the Lich so she was now between him and the team members. Sadly the blast shoved him into the wall and he grunted from the impact. Any part of his muscular body that was hit by the blast and shrapnel bubbled before repairing his body back to before like he was not hit at all. Agent Powers was not too happy with taking on friendly fire since his energy was being used up too fast and if this fight took too long he might revert to his teen body in front of the Dragons, which would be a bad thing.
Alyssa could feel the wall crumble on top of her father, she knew what destruction felt like. “Father, father are you alright.”
He didn’t respond. She was trapped under the collapsed wall, under her father and the man wasn’t responding. "Father?! Answer me. Father!
The first thing Choi thought was, More shards!, as rock and stones sliced through his body. Why was this day going the way it was? They were supposed to be stronger working together.
“Is everyone alright?” Yeong asked, definitely in pain.
“We’re trapped.” Alyssa could hear Yeong was injured in his voice, but couldn’t see how bad it was.
Alyssa couldn’t move, her father was still not responding to her cries for him to wake up.
Sartre fired the grenade launcher; the grenade exploded just before it got to the Lich. It had impacted on something of a magic shield. Lucky for the characters they were not in the kill radius. The blast defined the characters their heads were pounding from the blast. Everyone got hit by shrapnel, the burning metal stuck out of their bodies. The decorative molding fell from the ceiling onto Alyssa and her father. The room was filled with small debris and smoke.
Sung in an instant Sung appeared behind the throne made of Granite it protected him from the blast. He saw the missing pastor or priest chained up behind the throne. In Sarne’s last movements in a whiff of white mist, Sarne cut The pastor’s chains. Sarne continued to where Sartre was; his first thought was to cut his hands off but he turned the blade and cut his MP5 in half as he moved by Sung reappeared the door behind Sartre. his ears ringing he was going to talk with that Man when this was over.
As the smoke clears the characters recover the characters do not see the Lich anywhere. The pastor now freed is standing next to the throne shaking his head trying to recover.
Agent Powers was up again after his body recovered itself. Since his muscular slim body was an artificial body, his sense of pain was very dulled from the blast. Sadly he still had a ringing in his ear from the blast. He wanted to yell at the person who shot the grenade in the room, but he was more concerned about where the Lich was and if Alyssa was injured. He readied another few holy water ampules in his chest, in case he had to fight the Lich again. Then as he was ready to use his holy shotgun he moved like a special forces soldier to where the ruble fell on Alyssa. He had heard her say she was trapped, so he began to carefully remove the ruble to free her while still looking out for the Lich.
Sartre rushed towards the rubble as his ears were ringing and a sense of dizziness came over him. He knew he shouldn’t have tried that but he felt that it was the only way to possibly damage whatever kind of creature this was. He began to help the other agent With the rebel and see If Alyssa and her father were injured in any way.
Agent Powers used the sling on his holy golden shotgun to keep it in place as he lifted the extremely heavy debris from where Alyssa was. Using her voice he was able to figure out where she was and what order of rubble to remove. Eventually he removed the last large piece of rubble and saw a man on top of a very distraught Alyssa. Agent Powers slowly lifted the lifeless man off of Alyssa and checked for a heartbeat. Sadly he lacked any pulse at all as he put the old man to the side. Then he slowly lifted Alyssa up and set her next to the lifeless old man. Once Alyssa was down he said, “I’m sorry Alyssa.” Then he grabbed his golden holy shotgun and prepared to fight the Lich once she reappeared.
Alyssa could tell help was coming and kept hoping her father was somehow alive. However, once Max picked her father’s lifeless body, there was no doubt in her mind that Matt Wilson had perished. He had just been too weak to withstand the impact.
That was when her eyes filled with tears, but she said nothing as Max placed her near her father. This couldn’t be happening, right? It wasn’t right. Not the way things were supposed to play out.
Unfortunately, it was all too real. Alyssa held her father’s lifeless hand in her’s. She didn’t speak, didn’t move from that spot. It was hard to tell if she might be in shock or just grieving.
Choi carefully sat up. He had slits where there were once ice shards. Now, he had metal and stone chips throughout his body. He couldn’t find gnome the pain. What else could possibly prick into his body. First, it was the teeth of a shadow figure. Then, it was shattered bones. Now, ice, metal, and stone. He expected to be hurt, but with swords, guns, arrows, and conventional weaponry. He had no idea it would be things like splinters of something much larger.
Through the settling dust, Yeong witnessed Alyssa crying by her father. He reached out with his spirit but could not feel a life force. If he felt like moving, he’d likely take a sword to Sartre. Maybe he had his reasons, but whatever they were, they were not logical.
“I’m sorry, Alyssa,” he used her name instead of a witty nickname. He did, after all, have an empathetic heart. “I wish there were something I could do.”
“Alyssa, I’m so sorry I caused this,” said Sartre. He was visibly shaken.
Alyssa said nothing to anyone, just kept crying quietly and holding her father’s hand. Then she jumped a little, a confused look came over her face, as she swore her father’s hand moved.
Her imagination? Maybe, but then it happened again. Matt’s eyes started to flutter, he opened his eyes. Anyone who could sense it, could tell he was alive. Alyssa didn’t have that ability. She stared at the man laying before her.
“Alyssa, don’t be scared. I was able to come back.” Matt tried to ease the worried and confused look on his daughter’s face. “Little Bird, its real. It’s me.”
“Father?” It was him? He was alive? How? Alyssa head spun with the information.
Choi had known that his body healed faster than others. At the moment, it was beginning to painfully push the shards and splinters out. Muscles were beginning to mend, blood was slowing. He had heard that bees could come back to life. He hadn’t experienced that yet. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to. As painful as the healing process was, how much more pain occurred in coming back to life?
“Welcome back!” Yeong exclaimed, feeling the life force coming from Matt Wilson, as shrapnel dropped from his shoulder to his lap. He grinned at Alyssa, “I’m happy for you, Little One!”
Sung looked at the room carefully, his sword at his side but ready. “The Countess is still here” warned Sung. He closed his eyes and seemed to focus on the room. Then Sung moved to one side but it was too late. The Countess appeared behind him placing a hand on his shoulder. Sung instantly tensed up he opened his mouth but nothing came out of it as he fell over. Sung looked paralyzed as his body convulsed a little.
The Countess used the surprise to reach down and try to take Sung’s sword. Magic energy-like lighting ripped across her body She screamed in horror and disappeared in a trace of black smoke.
Agent Powers gritted his teeth as he missed his chance to shoot the Lich. Since she was too close to Sung when she appeared, he couldn’t shoot. Using a shotgun is great in that one does not need to aim perfectly at the target however it is the worst type of gun to use when there is a human shield/hostage in the line of fire. Sadly when Agent Powers got a chance to take his shot as the Lich reached for Sung’s sword, he was again denied as the sword seemed to hurt her and made her vanish again. Agent Powers grunted as he missed his chance to blow her head clean off. However he still had a few holy water ampules hidden under his muscular slime body as a triumph card. He was on guard as he knew the Lich was dangerous, but he was hoping she would make another blunder so he could shoot her.
Sartre went through everything that occurred to him in his mind over the past 12 years, he remembered back too the last time he had met with the angels and the dreamers in the cosmos after defeating Lilith and radical angel Samael At the Orochi tower. He felt himself be able to summon the power that the cosmos had given him at the time. He felt himself lift off his feet as the blue wings sprouted from his back, and extreme blast of energy rushed towards the direction the lich was last seen. As the entire cavern was covered in blue light. He would float for a few seconds as the room along with himself would radiate.
Agent powers was a bit shaken by Sartre’s blue light scene, however that moment revealed the location of the Lich and Agent Powers quickly fired three rounds of golden holy shotgun ammo. The Holy Shotgun (also known as the crucifix shotgun) The weapon shares some visual similarity to the Streetsweeper shotgun. It has a cross-shaped barrel. with the Dragon’s Breath flame thrower at the bottom and a flashlight on top. It has a 12-round replaceable drum magazine. The slugs are made by smelting gold from religious symbol, molding them and putting them in 12-gauge slug shells. These rounds, custom-made by the Illuminati, are tipped with explosive shells that contain white oak, holy water, garlic, and silver shavings. These ingredients, each bearing a folkloric power to impede evil and/or specific monsters (e.g. vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.), have the potential to injure many of the foes they may face. Agent Powers kept alert after firing hoping he was able to hit the Lich.
“What the…” Choi began, amazed at the display of Sartre’s spell. “K-Mart shoppers, we have a blue-light special on aisle 7. Why didn’t you lead with this?”
“Wherever it went, that should have done some damage to it…” said Sartre.
Alyssa noticed the blue light but was more focused on her father, who was now suddenly looking better. The man sat up, then stood up, he offered a hand to Alyssa who took it then stood up.
“Thanks,” Matt said to Peter. “I feel much better.” He still didn’t really know anyone’s name but had quickly figured out who were Illuminati and who were Dragons.
“I can only do that in rare circumstances,” said Sartre.
Choi closed his eyes, feeling with his spirit. Ears, eyes, hands have all failed in determining what is real and what is not. AI has often demonstrated this. He could rely more upon his spirit. It sensed the truth.
Choi feels the Lich as it appears right behind Alyssa. Matt started to move as the Lich appeared and pushed Alyssa to the side the Lich missed but instead grabbed Matt. His body froze just like Sung did as he fell. The look of shock on his face as he lay there on the ground.
Sung started to move slowly. He shook his head and he looked weak still. He tried to get to his feet. But only able to sit up.
Everything happened so fast, Alyssa didn’t stop to think. She just saw her father take the hit that was supposed to be for her.
It took an instant for a now furious Alyssa to look at the Lich. “You Bitch.” The hacker reached out and, this time, managed to touch the lich. She could feel the sting of cold on her hand but didn’t care, the thing needed to pay.
Choi acted quickly. Even with his eyes closed, he knew where Alyssa was and where the lich was. He sliced with the geom swinging it above Alyssa, then did the same on the opposite side of the lich.
Agent Powers was annoyed that he missed the Lich as he stayed on guard. Then he saw movement from the corner of his eye and saw Alyssa’s father fall as Alyssa grabbed the Lich. He wanted to shoot but Alyssa would be caught in the line of fire. Then he saw Choi moving in her direction and so he took the chance of loading a ampule of holy water through his neck and into his mouth, then took a deep breath, as he broke it in his mouth and sprayed the powerful holy mist in the direction of the Lich and Alyssa in hopes to weaken it so Choi could succeed. Once he sprayed his mist he spat out the glass in his mouth and kept his shotgun ready to shoot if he got a chance.
When Alyssa grabbed the Lich her smug look changed to fear. She screamed in pain as wounds opened up on the Lich it looked like the Lich was disintegrating. Dust fell from the ground from the Lich’s wounds. As mist settled on the Lich and Alyssa the water burned holes in the Lich. The Countess Lich shook and screamed. The Lich grabbed onto Alyssa. There was a brief power struggle between the two. They both had a magic hue on both of them.
The Lich looked at Choi as he came in for the attack. There was a flash of light and a trace of black smoke and the Lich was gone. the feeling of dread that hung in the air was gone as well. The Lich was gone from the room. Everyone had the feeling she got away.
Sung Let out a shout as he moved with incredible speed. A shot rang out as Sung hit the floor and slid to a stop. The priest was standing there with a large revolver. The priest had the gun pointed in the direction of Alyssa and her father.
Agent Power grunted as he hurt the Lich with the holy water but it was not enough to let Choi finish her off. As she vanished he looked around while on guard with his holy shotgun still aiming for prey. Then the movement from the other got his attention and aimed his shotgun at the priest who was aiming at Alyssa and her dad. Agent Powers then said, "YO PADRE! We came here to rescue you but if you try to hurt my teammate I won’t hesitate to blow your head clean off! Put the gun down NOW!!!”
“What do you think you are doing Charles Duane?” yelled Sartre as he looked at the direction the revolver barrel was pointing.
“You, You, You hurt my Lady Countess. You will all pay!” The Priest yelled. He lifted a dead man switch in the other hand. A blinking red light at the base of the switch. Those who know what that was know explosives had to be in the room.
Agent Powers muttered, “Crap!” As he moved very fast to block any shot or blast directed towards Alyssa. He knew it was going to hurt but he had been through worse on his solo missions. In the past he had to fight through a lot of suicide terrorists. He just hoped he had enough energy to maintain his muscular slime form.
Alyssa and Matt stood there for a moment. They exchanged a glance, Alyssa sighed but gave an ever so brief nod.
In a flash, Matt went from being by his daughter to punching Charles Duane. Matt was so quick in his movements it was difficult to see what he doing but he wrestled Charles in an attempt to get the device from him
Agent Powers barely missed Matt as they passed by each other heading in opposite directions. As Matt attacked the Priest, Agent Powers hugged Alyssa and covered her from the Priest’s attack. He muttered, “Stay down.” as he braced for the impact.
Choi ran the opposite way, running up the wall and doing a backflip. His arms stretched down toward the deadman’s switch. With hands on both sides of the switch, trapping Duane’s thumb upon the switch, Yeong kept the pressure upon it.
Sartre Rushed to help Matt Wilson and Choi grapple with Duane. He helped them make sure that the button was kept compressed as he placed his knee on the hand of Duane, who was now on the ground.
Sung stands on his feet with a hole in his jacket and other material sticking out. He coughs a few times. He looks angry and in pain. Sung walks over to the others struggling with the priest. not quickly, almost casually. Sung looked down at him “Be blessed Priest, I need you alive and want to ask you some questions,” Sung said—his tone cold with little emotion but his face with a hint of anger. Sung waited for Choi to pull and pin the Priest’s arm.
Sung was waiting for the right moment. With a swift motion of his sword, the Priest hand was severed; nothing happened for a second; it was fast, just a blur. Then blood started to pulse from the limb.
Choi realized immediately he was now holding the man’s hand. as blood dripped from it too.
The Priest flailed on the ground when he realized his hand was missing. The Man yelled in pain and shock, throwing blood everywhere.
Suddenly, Alyssa’s father was fighting with the guy they were supposed to be rescuing, even if he clearly wasn’t on their side. Then she was being covered by Max’s rather large body. She could no longer see what was going on.
Choi looked at the hand in his hands still keeping pressure on the deadman’s switch. He saw blood spewing from the priest’s arm onto his white and black Adi-Kicks.
He looked at Duane with tense lips and a raised brow. “I hope you know you’re ruining my shoes.”
He turned to Sung, saying, “Nice work, Master. I’ll hold onto this little treasure until we are safely out.”
Agent Powers looked at Alyssa to make sure she was safe. It felt a bit weird being this close to a woman so he began to feel a bit awkward. He then turned his head to see that the others took down the priest. Then he said, “Stay behind me and watch out for the Lich.” He then got up and stuck his hands into his pockets and pulled them out. He was now wearing golden holy brass knuckles as he reach for his dangling holy golden shotgun. He then held the shotgun as if he was ready to be attacked by the Lich from any direction. He then said, "Anyone have eyes on the Lich?”

Posted by : Cindy

The priest stopped fighting back and dropped the gun. His face turned white as he was going into shock it was over for him. Sung looked around for a moment at the room, he took a few deep breaths and mumbled some words. “The Countess is gone. I think we really did unlock the seal to this room; I think we should have left it alone,” Sung suggested as he looked back at the pastor. Sung reached down and touched the pastor’s arm, which healed some stopping the bleeding. “We are done here, let’s get what evidence or information needed and call in a crew to fix this place up.” said Sung standing back up.

“Fix it up?” Choi questioned. “As soon as we leave this joint, I’m releasing pressure on this switch. There will be nothing to clean up.”

With all calming, Yeong began to wonder about Moon Yun-Ji. She had some explaining to do to himself and Sung. He knew she wouldn’t apologize to the Illuminati, but at least she should explain herself to her own team.

Agent Powers kept on guard till he heard Sung tell them the Lich was gone. He stayed on guard and helped Alyssa up as he said, “That was way too close. Do we need to do anything before we leave this place?” He was still on guard since he knew they were not safe yet.

“Mr. Duane, would you mind telling us why you were pointing guns toward us and strapped with several pounds of explosives?” asked Sartre.

Alyssa thanked Max for helping her up. She was quiet at the moment trying to take everything in, having been blocked from seeing anything before.

Her father seemed to watch her and then said, "We need to make sure everything is disarmed and there aren’t any traps hidden away.”

“That’s not my area of expertise,” said Sartre.

Choi smiled a chaotic smile. “I say we just tie him up in here and I take the pressure off this dead man’s switch once we’re safely out.”

Mr. Duane just started to mumble things that did not make sense. He was clearly in shock now. His anxiety was very high. He was pale and somewhat shaky. Mr. Duane was not going to answer anything right now. Everyone did catch “My dear queen you have forsaken me.” He kept repeating that phrase.

Choi Yeong was feeling his oats. He realized that was a funny term and he wondered about its history. He’d have to research it. Anyway, Choi’s chaotic side began to show.

He got nose-to-nose with Duane, a sly smile upon his face. He ensured he held the trigger of the deadman’s switch away from Duane, Duane’s hand, dripping dry of blood, still attached to it.

“Like I said,” Yeong jested, “we can ensure you rejoin your beloved queen. Would you like that?”

“Hold it. What do you mean by that Mr. Duane?” asked Sartre.

Alyssa rubbed her temple a moment, “Yeong, don’t. Aren’t we supposed to be rescuing this guy? What, do we suddenly not rescue people because their mind has been manipulated but some crazy Countess? If it was one of us would everyone just let us die?” That could have been her father or Alyssa herself or Sung or any of them.

“Peter, Charles there seems to be in shock. It might be best to not question him at the moment.” Alyssa added. “Father, can you disarm him?” Pointing to Charles.

“Yes, and can do so without blowing him up.” Matt replied.

Choi chuckled, turning to Alyssa. He gave her a wink, which was his way of saying he never intended to blow the preacher up. It was all shock value, Yeong’s chaotic sense of humor.

Agent Powers was a bit concerned by the conversation of using the bomb on the priest. He was not sure if they were serious or just trying to scare the priest into talking. He stayed on guard as he waited for the team to pack it up. He then asked, "So are we taking the padre in? And where are we going next?”

“Well, let me take care of this first,” Matt said. He got down to the level of Charles. “Hold still.”

It didn’t take long for Alyssa’s father to disarm the man. “Now, what are you to do with him?”

Alyssa shrugged, "Don’t know. Anyone have any more instructions than - rescue him? He probably needs medical care. Possibly, long term.”

“I don’t have any knowledge of first aid.” said Sartre.

“I didn’t mean that kind of medical attention. I meant more the psychiatric kind.” Alyssa clarified. To be honest, she wasn’t sure exactly what would help the man.

Agent Powers scratched his bald head as he tried to remember the basic first aid he learned. Sadly the only thing he could think of was putting on a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and get him to a doctor as soon as possible. As for the mental help doctor he was completely out of his element since he was only taught how to torture someone for information. As this team mission was advancing he was beginning to realize how many skills he was lacking in this kind of work. He then responded to Alyssa, "Sorry Alyssa I’m only good at combat and torture. My dad was the one who was good at getting into people’s head, but I doubt he will drop his work to help us.”

“Oh” said Sartre. “Let me see.” "I can use my profiling.”

Sartre felt himself being enveloped in mist. As he sank into his consciousness, he began to be surrounded by a purple mist that began to produce images. Saint Ede The Pious having his eyes ripped out and then having his eye sockets sewn shut along with his mouth. The Spanish Inquisition. He saw the Great Pyramids of Egypt. He saw a triangle barely visible in Darkness. He saw Egyptian obelisks. He saw the twin towers on the morning of September 11th 2001. Before the planes hit. He saw A well-dressed man outside of a club in New York City called Fate. He saw chaos, riots, the January 6th Insurrection of 2021, He saw more riots and panic. He saw the same man that was standing outside of the club with another man he did not recognize. They were trying to convince The Halliwells to do something.

He saw Worshipers in the great pyramid. venerating a tall figure. Finally he saw in modern times. Entire populations of cities running in chaos. A man lying in bed with maggots coming out of his mouth.

“Do you know anything about ancient Egypt, Mr. Duane?” asked Sartre as he returned from the mist.

Choi scrunched up his nose. Ancient Egypt? The man is a priest of the Christian religion. Of course he would have studied Ancient Egypt. It had a major role, especially in the Old Testament of the Bible, the main book of the Christian faith.

Yeong looked at Powers and Alyssa. “Where’d you pick this guy up at?” he asked sarcastically.

Alyssa sighed, and shook her head. "I doubt Duane will be able to answer you, Peter. I do think he likely knows a lot about ancient Egypt, he’s a priest. It’s my understanding they kind of study all of that. What did you see?”

“I saw ancient Egyptian obelisks and pyramids. I saw chaos in the streets, several catastrophes of the last two decades. Worshipers in the great pyramid worshiping someone or something. I also saw the Halliwell sisters talking with someone who was trying to have them give him an object. I have not seen this man before. There was a man lying dead in a bed. He had maggots coming out of his mouth.” said Sartre.

Choi inquisitively looked to Sung, wondering if he were thinking the same as he was. It sounded as if their journey would lead them next to Cairo.

“I suppose we should escort this man to Cairo,” he suggested. “Obviously, he will be known there. He could get us access as followers.”

Seeing that the priest was disarmed, Choi suggested, “Let’s get out of here, so I can let go of this button.”

“I would not suggest that,” said Duane. “We must stay here in San Francisco.”

Agent Powers rolled his eyes up as he listened to the others. He then said, "Uhhh guys I know you have a bunch of things to talk about but that padre ain’t gonna last if we don’t get him to a doctor soon. I mean people can only lose so much blood before they kick the bucket. That and we need to get rid of this bomb without being labeled as a terrorist. So we need a quick plan to solve our two big problems.”

“Yes, we need someone to reattach his hand.” said Sartre.

“I make house calls. I can reattach it. I just need to get the hand.” Alyssa just wanted to get out of there. She had a bad feeling about staying there too long.

“Hold on!” Choi emphatically said. “I let go of his thumb on the dead man’s switch and we all go boom! Let’s get outside first. Leave the explosives.”

“Well, them lets stop discussing things and get out of here.” Alyssa said. “Who can help him,” Pointing at Duane. "Get outside.”

“Green Emerald can help with the explosives.” Sartre helped the others carry Duane to Eun Ji and the van. “What hospital and what is our cover story?” asked Sartre.

Sung had enough of this. “Listen, our organizations will want what is in here. there is valuable information in the book and other artifacts in the room,” Sung said in a stern tone. “So, Choi, the answer is no to blowing the place up.” said Sung on no uncertain terms.

“Then the switch also needs to be disarmed.” Alyssa commented. "Yeong, why don’t you give the switch to my father?”

Outside the entrance, blocking off the exit route to the streets, was a parked Amazon delivery van. Inside were David and Eun-Ji. The sliding door, facing the dungeon entry direction, was open and Eun-Ji was sitting on the edge with her feet casually dangling. She was enjoying a grande size Starbucks mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream. To her right was a bag with the store’s logo, inside an already eaten breakfast sandwich and fruit sampler. She looked refreshed and relaxed. David was inside at work, monitoring communications, surveillance and other placed tech down in the first hundred feet of the dungeon in case things had gone wrong.

“We have motion.” David called to her.

Eun-Ji perked up, placing her delicious drink down on the van floor and reached for her hammers.

David continued to watch those exiting and realized their profiles matched those that had entered. In addition, the infrared cameras were picking up there heat signatures; no undead. Finally they seemed to be bickering and cooperating as individuals and not some brainwashed, or possessed, collective. He deduced they had completed their task, since they were bringing out with them two new people.

“Looks like everything is good.” David assured Eun-Ji. “Everyone checks out with our metrics and looks like a rescue of two new individuals. Running facial recognition software on them now with dragon databases.” Moments later he informed Eun-Ji who they were.

Eun-Ji meanwhile placed the hammers back down, but left her left hand on top of one the handles as she rested. Her right hand picked up her Starbucks drink and she continued to enjoy while waiting patiently for them to emerge.

Sartre would help the others lift Duane into the van. “Eun Ji, can you disarm these explosives?” he laid the explosives on the floor.

Eun-Ji stood up and held up a hand before Peter was able to complete his actions. “Hell no! Bodies and explosives can go in your own damn van over there.” She pointed to Alyssa’s van. Her grip on a hammer was firm and she looked pissed that Sartre would have the gall to even think about doing such a thing without permission.

David could be heard a little deeper inside the Amazon van seconding her, “Yeah, not here. I have things I still need to do.” He was in the middle of preparing for a post mission sweep below and didn’t have time to deal with these new dilemmas.

“Enu Ji chill, they’re already deactivated. Not like we’d ask you to do any work anyway. After that little stunt.” Alyssa threw her hands up. “There are no bodies, everyone is alive but whatever.”

Alyssa’s father had managed to deactivate the switch. He gave the hand to Alyssa, who escorted Duane to the back of her van then reattached it using her ability. When it worked, Alyssa smiled. "Glad that worked. Now what?”

Eun-Ji did indeed chill, after all her aim was to keep them from taking liberties of utilizing David’s van and that was effectively accomplished thanks to Alyssa. She returned her hammers to her holsters and took up her Frappuccino. She observed the group from the side of the van after she said something in private to David and shut the sliding door.

Choi was aggravated. Eun Ji was sitting up here enjoying Starbucks, while the others risked their lives. He didn’t say anything. It was unlike him not to say something from his whit. Usually, when he was very angry at something, he chose to remain in control.

He’d have to talk with Master Park. This partnership just wasn’t working. Perhaps Eun Ji could be assigned to work aside David. They seemed to work better together. Yeong didn’t look forward to the disappointment on Master Park’s face.

Eun-Ji collected herself and made her way closer to Choi. “What happened down there?” She inquired calmly.

Meanwhile, the Amazon van door opened and David exited. He was geared up like a tech version of a tactical swat team. In addition he shouldered a large duffle bag that looked heavy and backpack. He came over briefly and whispered something into Eun-Ji’s ear before heading down below. Just before he disappeared he beeped the van to lock.

Alyssa rolled her eyes at David going in after the fact. There was no reason to be in all that gear. She moved closer to Peter. “Do you think either you or Max should go after him? I don’t trust him.” Of course she didn’t trust him, she didn’t know him. An unknown Dragon was not to be trusted.

Agent Powers gave a smoldering stare at Eun-Ji as he watched her act like she was too privileged to do her job. He was not in a good mood, especially since he was feeling weak from fighting the Lich. He looked around and whispered to Alyssa, Sorry but I am near my limit. I need to take a nap in your van before I lose it “. Agent Powers looked nervous as he was hoping Alyssa would let him hide as he powered down away from the others.

“If you can find the room, go ahead.” Alyssa responded to Max. She then pulled her father aside, the two talked briefly and Alyssa pulled out her phone and made a call. She then went back to Peter, "Someone is coming to get Duane. They should be here soon.”

Agent Powers made his way to Alyssa’s van and looked around before getting in the back. Then he grabbed one of the blankets that Alyssa had and covered himself before he melted into a slime. A moment later his head emerged from the slime while still under the blanket as he gasped for air. A few minutes later the slime evaporated and young Max passed out under the blanket.

“You look a little piqued there Powers,” Choi chided. “Here I thought he’d have the endurance of an ox!”

Choi raised a brow. It was he and Sung that actually captured Duane. He was their prisoner.

I’m sorry, Alyssa,” he insisted, still agitated with Eun-Ji, “but I must disagree. He was captured by Master Sung and me. So, he is our prisoner.”

“I disagree. We were all there, we all took part. If it wasn’t for my father you’d still be trying to figure out how to disarm him. Besides, the person coming will see he gets medical attention. Can you offer that without taking him to a hospital?” Alyssa replied. The idea that only 1/2 of the group take full credit for any of it, wasn’t sitting well with her.

In the chip, "Alyssa Go ahead and have Max Follow the dragon agent in the tactical gear. We can work on figuring out what Mr Duayne is up to.”

Back into the chip Alyssa responded to Peter, “Max is in no condition to follow him. It’ll have to be you or me.” She was starting to wonder how much Peter was actually paying attention to what was going on.

After having his hand repaired, Duane muttered, "There are others. I was… attempting to stop a ritual… The ones that burned the shop. They are a faction of another very dangerous faction. They are known as “The Cowboys.” They operate independently in small groups only with people they trust. They were a part of a military and intelligence unit who had something happen to them in Cambodia… That unit broke up into several factions. The cowboys were the worst of them. They still exist, they are the least powerful of the factions. Cambodia… The Lich was a mistake… I did not mean to summon it. I had to have the explosives in case it tried to escape to the streets.”

Peter said into the chip: “I don’t know if we have time for it, but I will go ahead and follow David. You stay with Duane and see what you can get out of him.” We will meet back later at the Halliwell house. You did good today Lumie Girl. Make sure your father gets some rest at the mansion.”

Alyssa turned back to Yeong, “Why don’t we all go back to the Halliway house? That way we can all stay with Duane and get him the help he needs.” There was no way the Dragon was going to convince her he and Sung did this on their own.

In the chip: "Alyssa, you still want me to follow David? Or should I skip it?”

“Skip it, hopefully he doesn’t do anything to screw things up.” Alyssa responded, into the chip.

"Then we all go back to the Mansion together. Your father needs rest Alyssa.”

It was not lost on Eun-Ji that Choi ignored not only her question but also her presence. She wrote him off, not having the patience to deal with his passive aggressiveness.

Not interested in what the others were going on about in their democratic style of figuring out what to do next, Eun-Ji just turned and headed back down into the dungeon to help David.

While the Illuminati were debating between themselves what to do next, Choi herded Duane to Sing’s vehicle. Rooting in the back of the SUV, Yeong found zip ties. Once Duane was in the back seat, Choi tied his ankle together, so the man couldn’t flee. Then, Choi leaned against the outside of the vehicle, awaiting Master Sung.

Alyssa practically gritted her teeth, when Choi just walked over and took Duane right in front of her. Damn, Dragons always show their true colors don’t they? She thought.

She went to Choi, “I do not have any idea why you think you’d even have a prisoner if it wasn’t for the rest of us. If you and Sung had gone down there alone you’d probably be in little pieces right now. You know I thought you were better than this. Guess I was wrong. Do what you want with the preacher. I have a report about what actually happened down there to write up. Think the higher ups should be interested in that. We’ll be at the Halliway house, you can come there if you want or not.” She really didn’t care any longer. “But Duane still needs medical attention.” As Alyssa walked away, she took out her phone and made another call.

She then went to her van, “Father and Peter get in. I think I’ve had enough for the moment. The Dragons want a prisoner so badly, they can clean up this mess.” Alyssa climbed into the van, and once Peter and her father were in the van, she started the van and took off.

Meanwhile little Max was passed out under a blanket inside the back of the van. He was worn out from fighting the Lich and needed to recover his energy. He was glad he could maintain his secret form from the Dragons. He was now dreaming about having friends and going to a dance club. He was in his muscular body and wearing a white suit with a black button up shirt that revealed his chest. Then he walked into the dance floor that appeared to be lit up checkerboards and began dancing under the huge disco ball to The Bee Gees music. The crowd cheered him on as he impressed them with his performance.

Alyssa’s sharp tongue jabbed Yeong. She was probably right. However, if Sung and he hadn’t done what they did, they’d likely all be blown to pieces by now.

He wanted to tell her he was sorry. He was not angry with her. She did what she was supposed to do. His anger should have been directed at Moon Eun-Ji. Yet, he took it out on an innocent person. He would need to bring balance back to the situation; Yeong was wise enough to see that truth.

He got into the SUV in the passenger seat. “Tell me more about the Cowboys,” he urged Duane.

Sartre got in the van and headed back to the mansion with the Wilsons. He was shocked to see that her father had returned somehow.

“It would make that much easier if you would untie me,” said Charles Duane. "We don’t have much time.”

Sung got into the SUV looking a little annoyed. “Choi, try to use a little more tact with them,” said Sung. He was then starting to drive back to the house. "Untie you with whom? What are you talking about?

“I will heal you when we get to the house if it works you will get your hand back.” stated Sung. He was still wondering about this who was he meeting?

“It wasn’t them with whom I was angry,” Choi admitted.

Looking back at Duane, Yeong emphatically requested, “Stop speaking in mysteries man. If you need to save time, speak clearly!”

Posted by : Cindy

“If I seem a little bit out of it, it’s probably due to blood loss. I assumed you were going to do something with those plastic restraints.” “The Cowboys” became a rogue faction of “that unit.” All variations of that unit could give the secret societies a run for their money." said Duane. “They are responsible for everything, they’re the ones who unleashed this cult on the city of San Francisco. They were paying attention to the ley lines running through the city. Especially; the one under that mansion.” If I could talk with the other agents involved in this mission. I think I know a way to defeat the cult. I’m going to need the Bible containing the visions of Saint Ede the Pious.”
“OK, Duane, why did you shoot me?” asked Sung, sounding annoyed. “And who do you work for?” questioned Sung. “I can see your tone and body language changed. Your presence is strange.” commented Sung.
“I shot at you because you were trying to stop the ritual I needed to complete to make sure that those “Cowboys” did not release what they once did in Cambodia,” said Duane.
“Which was?” Choi asked. “Come on; out with everything! Spill your guts!”
Yeong looked at Sung. “I guess we are headed back to the mansion?”
'Yes, Duane just so you know. I do not trust you and I will check your story when we get to the mansion." said Sung the drive did not take too long. There were some turns that were not scheduled to see if they were being followed.
The black SUV pulled up at the back of the house to help it not to be seen from the street. Sung helped Duane into the house and sat him on the couch.
Choi looked at Alyssa with an apologetic grin. “Can we talk?” he asked. He realized he was out of line back at the tunnel. He wanted to make it right.
Alyssa had been doing things on her computer and not really interacting with anyone. She however couldn’t help but notice when Sung and Choi arrived with Duane.
She removed her headphones just to hear Yeong ask to talk with her. “Sure, I guess.” Alyssa responded.
Yeong humbly took a chair next to Alyssa. Quietly he spoke, directly to her, as the others need not hear it.
“I…must apologize for my behavior. I was angry. The strange thing is, I wasn’t angry with you. I should not have directed it toward you.”
He thought a moment, then added, “You have every right to be angry with me.”
Alyssa bit her lip, and sighed. “Can you agree it was a joint effort? I thought we all should take credit for getting him.” She nodded towards Duane.
Yeong smiled, then chuckled. Alyssa looked cute biting her lip. He spoke quietly, discreetly, so others could not hear.
“You hung in there, Little Hacker,” Choi admitted. “We would have never got into the crypt without your help. I’m proud of you, as I’m sure your father is, even though you are Illuminati. Sure you wouldn’t rather be a Dragon?” he joked. “After this mission, I’ll likely be in need of another partner.”
Alyssa couldn’t hold back the smile that came to her lips, at his joke. “Well, I think I’m good staying Illuminati but I do hope we continue to work together in the future.” She also kept her voice down. “After all, I would hate to have to break in new Dragons.” Though it was clear Alyssa was joking.
—-
Agent Powers was still in the kitchen finishing his meal that Alyssa got for him and sighed as he was still hungry. Sadly he needed a lot of calories to power his muscular body. He looked around and saw no one around so she shrugged and helped himself to the pantry. Seeing the available ingredients he made himself a large submarine sandwich full of meat and veggies. The sandwich was a foot long, four inches wide and eight inches high. He also poured a tall glass of water to wash it down as he began to munch on it while playing games on his phone.
—-
Choi laughed at her joke. “I figured you’d say that,” he said with a smirk. “There’s no Illuminati I’d rather work with.”
He thought for a moment, then added, “Speaking of which, can you do a search for cowboys in Cambodia? He’s given us some information, but it’s a bit cryptic to me.”
“The Cowboys were not the ones in Cambodia. They came after. The US government revoked their security clearance after what transpired. Everything became classified.” What they saw in that temple. Poisoned them." They are the cult that is responsible for all of this. I can almost assure you that the Mothman sightings are due to increased cult activity. Especially the ley lines under this house. Whatever faction may come from, they will not say they are from the organization. If you want to know who they are, you’re going to have to look for yourselfs. All I need Is the book of Saint Ede The Pious to stop the cult. Phoebe I’m sure you’ve had a vision.”
Phoebe was someone taken aback. "How do you know my name? I did have a premonition, at night time, we’re all standing here. There is a portal about to be opened. There are several people in the room. Two I have never seen before. And one who should not be here… I need to talk to Prue…”
Choi tightened his lips. He couldn’t fully place trust in the sketchy priest. He seemed to be involved in all this. He’d rather trust the Halliwell sisters. At least that had allowed them to work from their mansion.
“And you expect us to trust you,” Yeong distrustfully said. “You who unleashed a lich?”
He looked to the Halliwell sisters. “Just what does this Book of Saint Ede do?”
Duane said, "The Lich was released by accident. A byproduct of something I had to do. "
“We remember reading about it in the book of shadows 26 years ago. Even though that was very vague, it had something to do with protection from portals.” said Piper.
Phoebe looked towards Prue with a look of worry. “Prue, let’s go outside.”
"Piper continued, "Let’s all head upstairs to the attic and see what we can find out.”
“Sure,” Alyssa agreed to look into the cowboys in Cambodia, but before she began was distracted by what Duane said.
It was making more sense the more the man talked but what did he mean about,“The Organization.”
Phoebe and Prue went outside, for whatever reason. Alyssa stood up, “I’ll go upstairs with you.”
It was then she tried her dad’s chip, fortunately, it worked once away from evil liches. “We’re headed up to the attic? Where are you?”
Alyssa was quiet during the drive back to the house. As was her father. It took about twenty minutes, stopping once to get some food and drinks. Alyssa picked up some for the still sleeping Max as well.
They arrived at the home of the sisters, Alyssa left Peter to wake up the now younger version of Max, and went to the house with her father. Once let in. Alyssa explained that Matt was her father.
They brought the food and drinks to the living room, putting them down on the coffee table then it was to wait for the rest of their team.
Sartre made his way in the manor, The rising summer heat caused sweat to drip from his forehead. He picked up and drank slowly from a glass of lemonade. "Mr Wilson, may I ask how you wound up in that church basement? Alyssa said you had disappeared for years?”
Alyssa took a water drank it first, then grabbed a Coke and a cheeseburger and fries. She pulled out her laptop, put her headphones on and started typing away. Clearly the hacker was in need of decompression time.
Matt watched his daughter for a moment, he took a water as well and sipped it, before responding to Peter. "Is there any place else in this house we can go to talk about that? I sense my daughter has reached her limit for the day, and what I have to say would only upset her.”
—-
Max was still sleeping in the van dreaming about being a disco club dancer. He was enjoying the dream since it was more enjoyable than his real life. Eventually he woke up and saw he was alone in the van. After rubbing his eyes he stretched a bit before transforming back into Agent Powers and leaving the van. After looking around he saw he was in front of the Halliwell house. He gave a smolder as he looked at the house and then made his way into the house to greet his team.
—–
“Yes Mr. Wilson, let’s take our drinks and discussion up into the attic here.” Sartre made his way up as he looked for Matt Wilson to follow.
Matt followed him, thinking it was such a big house that the only place to talk was the attic seemed odd but he didn’t think about it for long.
The attic was fortunately air conditioned, it did have a few seats and a few small tables, Matt took a seat.
“I was investigating an opened portal in an abandoned mental institution in Seattle. Apparently, some kids had gone missing after they had gone into the building. Alyssa was with me. I had told her to stay in the van, but things didn’t work out that way.
The portal was on the second floor. It was rather large. As I was investigating it, an entity jumped out of the portal. Demonic in nature, but unlike anything I had encountered before. It was black but the outside if this thing glowed red. It instantly made me feel terrified, deeply depressed and a kind of internal deadness.
It wasn’t particularly big, but the power behind it was unmistakable. It kept changing forms.
This thing got very close to me, and seemed like it was investigating me. “You are not the one. The one with the holes.” It said.
At first I didn’t know what it meant, but then this evil paralyzed me and mimicked my voice. It contacted Alyssa, pretending to me. Told her I needed her.
My daughter, of course, came to help me. It attacked her, and in doing so some how released me. I jumped into the fight. We were both fighting this thing, but I can say we were losing. I don’t know how it happened exactly. Alyssa was able to back away. I told her to run, at which point I felt myself being pulled back into the portal. I think I heard Alyssa scream. I do not know what why but this thing took me, though it clearly wanted Alyssa.
I was put into a dark hole with no bottom or top, or sides that I could see but I knew I couldn’t escape. It played on my fears. On any regrets I had. I was tortured a great deal of the time. The torture was especially bad when it would ask me how to get to my daughter and I wouldn’t tell it.
Then this thing got the idea to break Alyssa down little by little. It made me watch as it did things to her. Usually, in her sleep when defenses were down.”
Agent Matt Wilson looked directly at Agent Sartre and said, “It is still coming for her. Still trying to break her down.”
At some point it gave me to the Countess. I think it knew that Alyssa would wind up finding her, with all of you. I don’t know how it knew, but I don’t think you rescuing me was in the plan.”
“So you’re saying you believe in destiny Mr Wilson? What kind of plan did that portal or whatever was behind it have? Your daughter is an excellent agent by the way.” Sartre looked over at the book of shadows positioned in the middle of the room on the table. He thought about how much had been done with it over the years.
“Destiny, I am not too sure about. It is more like it can track my daughter and knows what she’s doing. Maybe more like it’s good at anticipating next moves. I do not know much about the plan, it didn’t really tell me. Just it wants Alyssa. I believe it is because her powers haven’t fully come in. I think it believes her powers can be manipulated to its will. With how powerful bees are, try to imagine one whose powers have been manipulated by a demon.” Matt explained. "Thank you for the compliment. I know my daughter is strong and resilient, it is part of why I brought her into the Illuminati. It’s that strength that has made it harder for the entity to get its claws into her.”
"She is very strong and resilient despite her stature” Sartre paused, then asked. "What got her into computers?”
“Alyssa has been drawn to computers, practically since she could walk. I am not even exaggerating, by the time she was four she was writing code. It was just always a part of her. I mean she’s also good with math, science and languages but computers have always been her first love.
It also got her away from her mother. Her mother is a difficult woman to please and she’s always been critical of how quiet and introverted Alyssa is. Plus, being so advanced and going to college so young didn’t allow Alyssa the opportunity to make many friends or really any. Computers, I think, offered her an escape.” Matt responded. "I though wasn’t there for most of Alyssa’s growing up. So, it’s really my guess.”
—–
After greeting Alyssa, Agent Powers thanked her for the food and he made his way to the kitchen to enjoy his meal. He was all too happy to enjoy his meal as he looked at his messages on his phone. Some of them were from his father, some from his game/media updates and the rest were junk mail which he quickly blocked. He then answered his texts and then began playing some simple puzzle games as he enjoyed his grub.
—–
“Mr Wilson, what do you think this creature is? And why exactly do you think it has an interest in Alyssa?” asked Sartre.
In the headset; Are you feeling alright Alyssa? Sartre heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Piper and Phoebe were on the back porch down below. They seemed to be yelling something but it could not be heard.
“I think it’s a demon or something demon-like. It is so evil that I could feel the darkness flowing from it. As I said, I am pretty sure it wants Alyssa because she has untapped power. She’s a bee, with only one power accessible to her. It means all that other power is lying dominant. I fear that if it activates in the wrong way, it’ll be like a volcano erupting” Matt stopped for a minute. He didn’t say anything, then. "Alyssa, to tell you she’s fine. They are on their way up here.”

Posted by : Cindy

Catacombs under San Francisco, CA

Eun-Ji’s decision to assist David in the archaeological survey of the catacombs was driven by practicality and a desire to contribute meaningfully to the Dragon’s efforts. She found herself growing weary of the tension and resentment among the Illuminati and Dragon agents after the recent mission. As they descended back into the catacombs, Eun-Ji’s mind shifted into a focused state, ready to tackle the technical challenges ahead.
Equipped with advanced technological gear, including mapping tools and photogrammetry equipment, Eun-Ji and David meticulously began their work. The catacombs, once a lair for the Lich, now posed as an intricate labyrinth of ancient passageways and chambers. Eun-Ji utilized her keen observational skills to document the layout, marking key features and anomalies as they progressed deeper into the underground maze.
David’s expertise with the equipment proved invaluable, as they conducted scans and captured detailed images to reconstruct a precise digital model of the catacombs. Eun-Ji assisted by operating the photogrammetry setup, ensuring each section was meticulously measured from multiple angles. The dimly lit corridors and eerie silence of the catacombs were juxtaposed against the hum of their technological tools.
As they moved through the tunnels, Eun-Ji occasionally paused to take notes, jotting down observations and hypotheses about the catacomb’s layout and history. She marveled at the ancient architecture and the layers of history buried within the stone walls, recognizing the importance of preserving and understanding these hidden depths.
Hours passed in their meticulous work, but Eun-Ji remained dedicated, knowing that the data they gathered would not only serve the Dragon’s archives but potentially unlock secrets that could aid in future missions. With each scan completed and section mapped, they inched closer to their goal of creating a comprehensive digital model that would be a testament to reveal ancient mysteries.

Posted by : Lorem

“In the attic, with your father.” Sartre said in the chip.

Choi shrugged his shoulders. Perhaps it would be best to trail along to ensure a Dragon presence. As cryptic as Duane seemed, it would be best to have no secrets kept from the Dragons.

He marched up the steps, following Alyssa. Hopefully, they would get answers instead of aloof thoughts.

“You people have no idea what you are dealing with,” said Duane. " I’m going to need the book of The Visions of Ede the Pious to stop these renegade cowboys from unleashing something way more dangerous than a Lich. I could also use the “End Rite” or that scalpel I saw Miss Halliwell carrying.”

Audible screams of anger could be heard from the porch below. As they reached the top of the stairs, Phoebe entered with tears in her eyes, obviously upset from an argument. “Miss Wilson, It’s February 25th 1994.” said Phoebe. Prue entered a few seconds later and headed directly towards her room. She cast Alyssa a vicious glare for some reason. It was noticeable that she had also been crying. Prue’s bedroom door could be heard being slammed shut.

Why so much was directed at her personally, Alyssa had no idea. The two sisters had suddenly made her feel very unwelcomed, like she should crawl back into her van.

Alyssa though just rolled her eyes and said. “You know what, Phoebe. If you and your sister want me to leave, just say so. This passive-aggressive bullshit is really ridiculous.” She didn’t care that the two had been crying; there was no reason to direct anything at Alyssa personally.

Her cell vibrated, Alyssa pulled her phone out of her pocket and read for several moments. Truth was she had read what was sent three times. She stared at her phone in disbelief. Without another word she left the attic.

February 25th, 1994? That was 30 years ago. What does a date 30 years ago have to do with now? thought Choi.

Never fully understanding the female’s like of drama, Yeong remarked, “Someone’s angry. Not sure why they’re angry at the Little Hacker.”

Turning his attention back to the priest, Choi remarked, “We’re not opening the last book you mentioned. I don’t like that one. How would you know all those books are here?”

“I figured you are all capable investigators. I knew about all those books before Olivia Warren died over a week ago. I was looking for them before you got here.” said Duane.

“We only have a certain amount of time before all hell breaks loose,” said Duane.

“So, you were in the house before we were,” Choi stated. “You knew these books were here. So, did you open the End Rite? Did you see the events in there?”

Choi thought of the anger he saw on the Halliwell sisters’ faces. “While we’re at it, what happened thirty years ago that has them upset?”

“I have never been in this house before. And they aren’t upset about February of 1994… It’s something more personal to one of them. What are the connections between recollections and premonitions? Things can become so chaotic that history can change in the blink of an eye.” said Charles Duane.

Everyone in the room eventually blinked. Charles Duane was nowhere to be found. It was as if he had just vanished.

As a veteran agent Matt Wilson was able to keep his sense about him. He had seen strange things before, but he had never seen a person simply vanish like that.

Choi was able to realize he had seen a vanishing without questioning reality.

Matt knew Charles disappearing was not a good thing. It made him a little weary. Thoughts of the same thing happening to himself, again filled his mind for a moment. "I think we need to tell the others what just happened.”

Choi shook his head. For some reason, he knew this guy would slip through their fingers. He did once before.

“I’m glad you saw that,” Yeong stated. “Your daughter would never believe me. She’d think the Dragons sneaked him away for ourselves.”

Matt raised a brow, then a small grin crossed his lips. “She likely would at that.” He paused. “I will go tell them. Everyone else is in the kitchen.” With that he headed back downstairs.

Alyssa made her way to the kitchen. She went into the fridge, hoping to find something a little stronger than soda. She found some craft beer. It would do.

She rummaged through the draw until she found a church key, using it to pop the top off the bottle. The bottle opener was unceremoniously thrown back into the draw, and the draw was slammed shut.

Alyssa then noticed Max sitting at the table. Damn, that message must have really thrown her off. She took a seat at the table and sipped her beer. “Hey,” Alyssa greeted the man. "You haven’t gotten any odd messages, have you?”

Agent Powers swallowed his food and washed it down with some water before he could reply. He shook his head yes as he replied, “Well depends on your view on weird. I get mean texts from my dad telling I need to do better. I also get texts telling me that people want to buy my house, some want me to marry a woman from China, some want to improve my love life like I even have a love life and several Nigerian Princes want to give me money if I give them my bank account number. Honestly they all fall under weird to me since I have no friends, no girlfriend or social life and yet all these strangers want to influence my life.” Agent Powers then took another bite and chewed on his food.

Alyssa sighed. “Of course, I had to be the one to be targeted.” She was concerned and annoyed at the same time. “I want to show you something but it’s kind of a long read. Don’t say anything to anyone about it until I have a chance to show it to my father and Peter.” She pulled out her phone. “You up for this?” She asked Max.

Phoebe followed Alyssa downstairs, careful to keep her distance. “Alyssa, I just had a premonition, or a recollection. Someone sent you a message…” said Phoebe following hastily but respectively after Alyssa. It looked as if the color had drained from Phoebe’s face.

Alyssa turned to Phoebe, "Doesn’t explain the look your sister gave me. But I did get a message, maybe you could read it.”

Agent Powers read the text in silence then copied it to his phone before he closed the app and the phone. Then he handed it back to Alyssa in silence as he gave Alyssa and Phoebe a smolder. He kept quiet as he took another mouth full of food. He knew it was easy to keep his mouth shut when eating so he listened as he ate.

“I apologize for my sister’s actions, she’s always been that way. She’s been through a lot over the past twenty three years. She is even worse with me.” May I take a look at your phone Alyssa?" asked Phoebe.

“Yes,” Alyssa stated, not wanting to talk about Prue any longer. She handed her phone to Phoebe and took another sip of beer.

“This person was clearly in distress. Though he knew how to use the internet in it’s very early days. We didn’t get our first personal computers until two years later. He was clearly older and in a later stage of life. He definitely had a military background. He was probably a father or grandfather. Definitely divorced. Someone was after him, they more than likely got to him. But he had set up a parameter and security devices that could rival one of our magical wards. There’s that reference to Cambodia again. " Sartre and Matt Wilson left the attic and emerged from around the corner. “Alyssa; can your excellent computer skills tell us anything about Cambodia and Cowboys?” And what exactly did this message say Alyssa? What do you think it means?” asked Sartre As he sat down across from Alyssa. He respectfully allowed Mr. Wilson to take a seat next to his daughter.

To make things easier, Alyssa sent a copy of the email to everyone currently in the kitchen, except Max because he already had a copy. “There you can all read it. Question - is everyone down from the attic? Might we want at least one Illuminati up there?”

Alyssa stood up, "I’ll get my laptop and start researching that.”

"I think that the attic is pretty well guarded, Alyssa. Mr. Wilson, though it may be a touchy subject, you’ve been out of our world for quite a long time, though not as long as Miss Prudence Halliwell. Do you think you could go up there and read through the occult books? You might be able to pick up on something. Feel free to take a look at their book of shadows. You might have uncovered things during your time away.”

“Speaking of security, has anyone seen Eun Ji? She still has that bible of Saint Ede.” said Sartre.

“I can take a look.” Matt Wilson retreated back up the stairs to the attic.

Alyssa came back into the kitchen with her laptop and heard the comment about Eun-Ji. "Last we saw her, she was headed into the tunnels under the church with that friend of hers. She hasn’t arrived here. I doubt she’d give us that book anyway. Maybe, another Dragons could get it from her.”

“Alyssa, Let’s see your computer skills. I did not want your father reading that email, with what he’s been through, I figured it would be too disturbing.” said Sartre.

Piper Halliwell entered through the front door, and made her way to the library. Her natural aging had not taken much of a toll on her. Though she had clearly gained wait and her hair was blonde. Phoebe showed signs of aging as well. The cosmos at work. This was in contrast to Prue and Mr. Wilson. She joined the others in the kitchen.

Agent Powers remained calm despite several people entering the kitchen now to see Alyssa work on her computer. He gave them a smolder as they came in and paused before going back to eating his very large sandwich and drinking a tall glass of water. He looked at the beer that Alyssa was drinking and raised an eyebrow at her in surprise, but kept his thoughts to himself. He felt a bit out of place as he was the muscle of the team and not much help in the brains department. Then he got an idea and got on his phone and began ordering items from “Amazon”, but actually it was a front for supplies from his father.

Piper, the expert chef respectfully looked over Alyssa’s shoulder and watched her work on her laptop. Phoebe and Prue could be heard arguing down the hall.

Alyssa took a while, typing away. She was aware of Piper looking over her shoulder. So, much so that at one point she turned to the woman and said. “You could just pull up a chair.”

The hacker went on with her work, then turned to the group. “I need to make a call. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” She got up, and left the kitchen, but did return quickly. "Well, this is going to be long so bear with me. It seems as if there was a unit in Cambodia, that was disbanded by President Ford, in the 70s. There are no more references to it until the late 70s and early 80s when several paranormal cases seemed to be solved by investigators who used extremely brutal methods on both humans and monsters. They’re only signature is a green triangle. In the late 80s through the 90s another version of this group was created. They operated in cells. They were organized; unlike the brutal groups of the '70s and '80s, they also used the Green Triangle. A secret program was created after September 11th 2001. This program combined something called Project Twilight with something known as The Security Clearance. The Security Clearance was only known by the symbol of the green triangle. The combined forces of these two, Project Twilight and the Security Clearance became known as The Program. The Program is directly under the control of the United States government. The second version of the green triangle group also exists. They refuse to be a part of the federal government’s program. I also came across a file for a Major General Reginald Fairfield. I believe he was the one that wrote the document that the anonymous person emailed me. He was killed on February 25, 1994. However, I do not have access to his file beyond that. I called Cassini, but she said, basically, it was above her pay grade as well. It, apparently, can only be accessed by Kirsten Geary.”

“Alyssa; have you ever spoken to Geary?” asked Sartre. Piper did indeed pull up a chair.

“No, but I believe my father has.” Alyssa had worked always through her father or Cassini, she hadn’t met many of the higher-ups.

"Where is your father?” asked Sartre.

Prue and Phoebe yelling seemed to be getting louder but could still not be understood.

“I was in the attic, where you sent me.” Matt said, to Peter as he stepped into the kitchen. “Charles Duane is gone. He vanished into thin air.”

Alyssa shook her head, “Why does that not surprise me? I suppose we can’t do anything about it, but there is something you can do for me.”

“What’s that?” Matt asked his daughter.

“I need you to contact Kristen Geary.” The hacker explained briefly the information she had uncovered and how the file wasn’t able to be accessed by anyone but Geary.

Matt let out a small whistle, “Well, I suppose I can be one of the few people to actually surprise her.”

He texted the woman, it took no time at all to receive the message back.

Geary: Kirsten Geary here, your Illuminati handler. Agent Wilson! How did you get back here?

Matt: It is an extraordinarily long story.

Geary: You will fill me in, but later.

Geary: Let’s talk about Major General Reginald Fairfield, a name that should ring a few bells if you’re familiar with a unit called Delta Green.

Reginald Fairfield was a retired Major General in the U.S. Army and one of the key figures in Delta Green during the brutal “Cowboy” era where former agents, shocked by whatever they saw in Cambodia, started playing by their own rules leaving a trail of paranormal and human bodies. This guy was a legend, known for his no-nonsense approach and deep-seated belief in fighting against the things that go bump in the night. Fairfield’s dedication to Delta Green was unwavering, even after his official retirement in 1970. He continued to work behind the scenes, ensuring that the organization stayed true to its mission of protecting humanity from the unseen horrors lurking in the shadows. Unfortunately, his commitment came at a high price. In 1994, he was assassinated.

Also of confidential nature, your daughter has been sleeping, and I mean just sleeping with that FBI Agent. That Halliwell sister Prudence has encouraged her to take things further. Prue and Alyssa have had words. Ciao Ciao from the Bitch without Borders. K.G.

Matt gave a look to Peter then Alyssa, then relayed the information about General Fairfield to the group. He, of course, left out the personal details about his daughter, Peter and Prue.

“Any idea who sent you the message Alyssa?” asked Sartre. Rain began to pelt the windows as a dull gray overcast covered the sky.

Alyssa shook her head, "No, no idea.”

Choi joined the group after giving the attic the once over. He knew Eun-Ji and Sung had already searched there, Eun-Ji while Yeong was in crisis in the basement. Choi frowned, as Moon had the habit of missing action when most needed. What was up with her?

“Any idea where we go from here? and what’s up with that guy Duane?” asked Sartre.

“I can make you all some custom soda.” said Piper.

“No, I suppose some could look through the books but Eun-Ji has one of those. No, telling if she’ll even bother showing up here.”

“I can continue my research on my computer, but I would really like to spend some time with my father while we aren’t dealing with a life threatening situation.” She glanced at Matt, who gave a light smile, and a nod of agreement.

Sartre motioned to Piper. "Let’s leave the Wilsons to talk. Bring me a soda to the sunroom Miss Halliwell.”

Choi sighed, as it sounded that father and daughter would like time alone. This was where he missed having parents. He would never envy one for having parents, but Yeong realized this was something he missed in life. He had Master Park, almost as a grandfather figure, but it wasn’t the same. He was Choi’s teacher, not blood.

“Sure, Miss Halliwelll,” he agreed, while following them.

As he sat down, Choi texted Eun-Ji: We need the sacred book you have. Inwardly, he wondered if she’d respond.

Agent Powers was still eating his sandwich while everyone was talking, and he barely understood what they were going on about since he left the planning to the smart people. Sadly, he was a “C” student at best and his only talent lay in mass destruction. So he kept quiet as he kept eating his large sandwich.
“My sisters, they’re upset. We have a visitor tomorrow night.” Someone we haven’t seen in 25 years." said Piper as she brought Sartre a ginger ale and
“Did you learn anything from Duane?” asked Sartre.

Posted by : Cindy

When Max didn’t follow the other out: Alyssa watched the large man momentarily then turned to her father. “Why don’t we find somewhere to talk?”

“Yes,” her father seemed unphased by Max not moving.

The two ended up in the bedroom she had been sharing with Peter. Alyssa sat on the bed while her father took the chair on the side of the room and moved it closer.

Alyssa breathed, it was good to see him again, to have him here but she didn’t know where to begin. “Does it seem like five years to you?”

“Yes and no. Time wasn’t very liner where I was.” Matt responded honestly.

“Where was that?” The hacker wasn’t sure she really wanted the answer but needed to know.

“For most of it, I was trapped in a large dark hole.” Matt’s mind wouldn’t let him forget. “Have you had any effects?:

“Yes, nightmares. Waking up in places and not knowing how I got there. I vanished a few hours ago when we were all at the church. Also, memory loss of sorts. I never remember the nightmares. I have no recollection of where I’ve gone during those times.” Alyssa explained.

“That might be a good thing. You need to protect yourself in any way you can. This thing that’s after you, it is not the Countess, she came later. It is pure evil.” Matt wished he could spare his daughter from this truth but she needed to know what was after her. “It is very powerful…and…”

Something was happening …. Her father’s face seemed to expand and then skin was peeling off it. Alyssa screamed, or thought she did but it wasn’t audible. Her father …not her father. “Alyssa, Alyssa it’s okay.”

She fell to the ground., Matt caught her and carried her to the bed. “You can’t have her.” He had a feeling about what was behind this. He was fine, completely unharmed but obviously, his daughter had seen something that horrified her.

“Alyssa, look at me. I’m fine. Look at me.”

The hacker did just that, blinked a few times and saw her father was fine. She breathed deeply and wiped a few tears from her eyes. “I thought… never mind.”

“I can’t stay with you. The two of us together are like a beacon for that thing.” Matt said.

“But I just got you back,” Alyssa said. In reality, she had just gotten him because he was actually present for once in her life.
“I’ll be no farther away than a phone call or text, but I have to go,” Matt reluctantly said, he really didn’t want to leave her either, not so soon… “I’ll most likely be at headquarters for a while so easy to find” The man paused, “”I am proud of you. You have become an amazing agent and person.”

“Thank you,” She wiped a few tears from her eyes. The two took a moment to hug. Then went back downstairs to the others.

Posted by : Cindy